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

‘Firefighting’ Diplomacy Will Not Achieve Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians

‘Firefighting’ Diplomacy Will Not Achieve Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians

Monday, May 9, 2022

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

The good news is that there are intensive regional and international efforts to avoid another Israeli-Palestinian war. The preventive effort has been extensive, and the United States seems to be carefully monitoring the situation. The bad news is the reconfirmation of what most already know: the Israeli-Palestinian status quo is volatile and not sustainable. The resulting successive wars only take us many steps further away from peace.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

The Negev Summit Furthers Arab-Israeli Normalization

The Negev Summit Furthers Arab-Israeli Normalization

Thursday, March 31, 2022

By: Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen;  Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Earlier this week, the top diplomats from Egypt, Morocco, Bharain, the UAE and the United States arrived in Israel at the invitation of Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid for what was named the Negev Summit. Building on the normalization breakthrough started by the 2020 Abraham Accords, the summit marked a significant diplomatic shift for the region — especially as concerns mount over the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. USIP’s Lucy Kertzer-Ellenbogen and Ambassador Hesham Youssef look at what happened at the summit, how the topics of Iran and Russia were addressed, and what this means for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process going forward.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Danger of ‘No Solution’ Messaging

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Danger of ‘No Solution’ Messaging

Thursday, February 17, 2022

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has made it clear that he has no interest in reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In a recent interview, he affirmed his longstanding position that he “opposes a Palestinian state and will not allow talks on the line of a Palestinian state.” Echoing Bennett, Israel’s more moderate Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid — set to take over in August 2023 — says he, too, will not seek peace talks once he takes office, despite his stated support for a two-state solution.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionPeace Processes

The Latest on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: 4 Key Issues

The Latest on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: 4 Key Issues

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

By: Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen;  Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Recent events, including the turmoil in East Jerusalem and the 11-day war in Gaza, have forced the Israeli-Palestinian conflict back to the forefront of international attention. USIP’s Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen and Ambassador Hesham Youssef discuss big-picture trends they have been following, including shifting support for a two-state solution, the future of the Oslo framework, the role of the United States and the international community, and what might move the needle for peace.

Type: Blog

Peace Processes

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