Houston: The UAE Consulate in Houston was officially opened on Wednesday.
The consulate will provide support services to UAE nationals residing in the greater Houston area and will work to expand business relationships and cultural exchanges between the UAE and Texas.
Participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Dr Sultan Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State; Suhail Mohammad Faraj Al Mazroui, Minister of Energy and Industry; Yousuf Mana’a Saeed Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US; Saeed Al Muhairi, UAE Consul-General in Houston; and Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards.
Al Otaiba had also met with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, local officials and other community leaders to discuss Hurricane Harvey’s impact and learn more about the local recovery effort, including specific needs.
Last year, the UAE government announced a $10-million grant to support rebuilding and recovery efforts in Texas, after Hurricane Harvey devastated the state with torrential rain and flooding. While large portions of the state were impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the City of Houston was hit particularly hard. At the peak of flooding, one-third of Houston was under water, and 75 of the city’s 275 schools were closed due to damage caused by water.
Given the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, Ambassador Al Otaiba and UAE Embassy officials are coordinating with local leaders to fully understand the broad needs of Houston’s recovery efforts.
“We are committed to helping Houston recover and rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. We want to support our friends in the ways they need it most, and today’s discussions will ensure we do just that,” said Al Otaiba.
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the consulate’s inauguration, the officials spoke at a reception hosted in collaboration with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre, to celebrate the consulate’s opening and highlight the partnership between the UAE and Houston.
The UAE and MD Anderson have a long-standing relationship, and hundreds of Emirati patients receive treatment at MD Anderson each year. In 2011, the UAE’s Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation announced a $150-million grant to MD Anderson to support the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Building for Personalised Cancer Care.
“The UAE has deep and strong ties in this community,” said Consul-General Al Muhairi. “The consulate is a testament to our commitment to Houston and the local community.”