American Jewish Committee (AJC), the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people, today announced former Chair of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman as the inaugural speaker of its Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Lecture Series in Abu Dhabi.

The series, a program sponsored by AJC Abu Dhabi: The Sidney Lerner Center for Arab-Jewish Understanding in cooperation with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, is named after the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the U.S., who helped broker the Abraham Accords, which set the stage for full diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, and, later, Morocco. 

Ambassador Al Otaiba has also been an essential partner over many years for AJC in its efforts to engage the Emirati government and a range of national institutions, and in furthering political and interreligious cooperation across the Middle East. 

As chair of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Berman made building bridges to Arab-Israeli peace and enhancing U.S.-Middle East strategic alignment a priority.

Berman was instrumental in strengthening American-Emirati ties. Under his tenure, the two countries signed the historic U.S.-UAE 123 Agreement, named for a section of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act, which allowed for peaceful nuclear cooperation between the two nations. 

The lecture coincides with a visit by board members of AJC’s new Arabian Gulf Institute and will take place Oct. 4 in Abu Dhabi.

“Then-Chairman Berman was instrumental in shepherding a bilateral agreement through a congressional approval process that served both Emirati energy, economic, and security interests and the strategic imperatives of the United States,” said Jason Isaacson, AJC Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer. “His work on the 123 Agreement was of a piece with a remarkably distinguished career in public service. AJC is honored that he accepted our invitation to deliver the inaugural Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Lecture.”

With the 2021 opening of AJC Abu Dhabi: The Sidney Lerner Center for Arab-Jewish Understanding, AJC became the only Jewish organization with a permanent presence in the Gulf. It is headed by Marc Sievers, a former U.S. Ambassador to Oman.

AJC Abu Dhabi builds on decades of behind-the-scenes work by AJC to promote peace in the Middle East and North Africa and open doors to better relations with Israel and the Jewish world – work that helped lay the foundation for the 2020 signing of the Abraham Accords.

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AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York City, 25 offices across the United States, and 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC's mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. More at

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