Ambassador Hesham Youssef was a career diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt. From 2014-2019, he served as Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian, Cultural and Social Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and completed his term in July 2019. From 2001-2014, he served as a senior official in the Arab League, as Official Spokesman and later the Chief of Staff to Secretary General Amr Moussa from 2003- 2011. From 2012-2014, Mr. Youssef was a Senior Advisor to the Secretary General of the Arab League, Dr. Nabil Elaraby, on issues pertaining to crisis management as well as the reform of the Arab League.

Amb. Youssef has worked extensively on conflict resolution in the Middle East and in particular the Arab Israeli conflict, reconciliation in Iraq and the situation in Sudan. He has written several papers on reform in the Arab world and focused in the last five years on fragility and the humanitarian situation in the Islamic world, in particular in Somalia, the Palestinian Territories, Chad, Niger and Myanmar.

Amb. Youssef joined the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in 1985. He was posted to the Egyptian Embassy in Canada (1988-1992) and the Egyptian Mission in Geneva where he focused on economic and trade issues in the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (1995-1999). He was a member of the Cabinet of the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs in the periods 1992-1995 and 1999-2001.

Amb. Youssef graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Faculty of Science, Cairo University, in 1980. From 1980-83, he taught at Cairo University, the American University in Cairo, and Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He holds master’s degrees from St. John’s College (New Mexico) and the American University in Cairo.

Publications By Hesham

A New ‘Quartet’ for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

A New ‘Quartet’ for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Monday, July 20, 2020

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Good news for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking seems rare, but this month’s diplomatic initiative by four states influential in Europe and the Middle East is a constructive development that should continue. On July 7, Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan joined to oppose Israel’s declared intent to annex territory that it has occupied since 1967. Vital actors, including Arab states and the European Union, have been unable to stop the march toward annexation and the attendant risks of renewed violence. Yet a partnership of key Arab and European states—the latest in a string of diplomatic “quartets” on the conflict—offers a foothold on which to build.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Jordan Sees Danger in Trump’s Middle East ‘Vision’

Jordan Sees Danger in Trump’s Middle East ‘Vision’

Monday, May 18, 2020

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has long been a cornerstone of Middle East stability, wielding significant political and strategic influence in the region. As a small country with a weak economy bordered by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories, adroit diplomacy is one of its key national resources. Now, Jordan faces a fresh diplomatic challenge: the potential impact of President Trump’s plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on its strategic interests and very future. In the months ahead, Jordan—a crucial partner to the U.S., Israel, and the Palestinians—faces a critical juncture in its relations with both the U.S. and Israel coupled with unprecedented internal challenges.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

U.S., Israel and Palestinians Tie Knot of Self-Delusion

U.S., Israel and Palestinians Tie Knot of Self-Delusion

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Diplomats, politicians and analysts have invoked a range of obstacles over the years to explain why Israelis and Palestinians can’t make peace: The time is not ripe; there is no partner; there isn’t enough pressure on one party or the other; one side is willing but unable to make concessions, the other is able but unwilling. Now, as the world focuses on the coronavirus pandemic and its economic repercussions, we can add another, more inclusive explanation: Israeli, Palestinian, and American leaders have all embraced self-delusion on the road to pyrrhic victory.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Six Challenges Facing a Fragile Middle East Amid Coronavirus

Six Challenges Facing a Fragile Middle East Amid Coronavirus

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven a challenge even for wealthy countries with the most robust health care systems. For the Middle East—a region with no shortage of dangerous pre-existing conditions—it could be far worse. The virus now appears to be spreading to a part of the world where, over the past decade, conflict and displacement have become widespread while effective governance and social cohesion have eroded.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & Resilience; Global Health

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