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, Ambassador 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.

Ambassador 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.

Ambassador 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.

Ambassador 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

Israel-Gaza Conflict: A Short Confrontation with Disproportionate Implications

Israel-Gaza Conflict: A Short Confrontation with Disproportionate Implications

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

No one was ever in doubt about the damage that the Israeli army can inflict on Gaza, or in the occupied territories in general, in any military confrontation. The gap in the balance of power is one of the widest in the region. This has been the case in the wars that took place in 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2021, and in the latest military attack that ended on August 7, 2022. The duration of the conflict, the extent of the destruction in Gaza, the regional and international response and other factors varied widely. However, unsurprisingly, like in previous confrontations, each side claims that to some extent it was able to achieve its objectives.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Amid War in Ukraine, Russia’s Lavrov Goes on Diplomatic Offensive

Amid War in Ukraine, Russia’s Lavrov Goes on Diplomatic Offensive

Thursday, August 25, 2022

By: Heather Ashby, Ph.D.;  Jude Mutah, Ph.D.;  Jason Tower;  Ambassador Hesham Youssef

As Russia’s unprovoked and illegal war against Ukraine enters its seventh month, the Russian government continues its diplomatic offensive to prevent more countries from joining international condemnation and sanctions for its military aggression. Between July and August, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov traveled to Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, the Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Cambodia — the last as part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. This tour represented an evolving reorientation of Russian foreign policy from Europe to the Global South that has accelerated since Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Five Messages Biden Should Take from His Middle East Trip: A Regional Perspective

Five Messages Biden Should Take from His Middle East Trip: A Regional Perspective

Thursday, August 11, 2022

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Before and since President Biden took office, debates have proliferated around an American “retrenchment” from the Middle East. The administration has consistently asserted that it is not withdrawing from the region, only aligning strategy and resources — “right-sizing” in the parlance of the moment. Still, most of the region remains unconvinced.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

What You Need to Know About the I2U2

What You Need to Know About the I2U2

Thursday, July 28, 2022

By: Daniel Markey, Ph.D.;  Ambassador Hesham Youssef

As part of his visit earlier this month to the Middle East, President Biden participated in the first leaders summit of a new grouping made up of Israel, India, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Known as the I2U2, the countries’ foreign ministers formed the bloc in the fall of 2021 to deepen technological and private sector collaboration in the region and tackle transnational challenges in six focus areas: water, energy, transportation, space, health and food security. Beyond the announcement of a food security initiative and a hybrid renewable generation facility for India, little was revealed about what’s next for I2U2.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Five Takeaways from Biden’s Visit to the Middle East

Five Takeaways from Biden’s Visit to the Middle East

Thursday, July 21, 2022

By: Robert Barron;  Sarhang Hamasaeed;  Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen;  Michael Yaffe, Ph.D.;  Ambassador Hesham Youssef

President Biden made his first trip to the Middle East last week, visiting Israel and Saudi Arabia. While the trip yielded little in the way of flashy announcements — like new normalization agreements or Saudi Arabia boosting oil production — it did demonstrate that the United States remains focused on enhancing the region’s security architecture, particularly to counter Iran. Still, there were some notable developments, like a U.S.-Saudi agreement to build 5G and 6G telecommunications networks and Riyadh opening airspace to Israeli flights. On the Israeli-Palestinian front, the president affirmed Washington’s long-standing commitment to Israel and said that now was not the time to reengage on peace talks with the Palestinians.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

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