Bader Omar Al Dafa


Bader Al Dafa is the Executive Director of the Global Dryland Alliance (GDA), an international initiative sponsored by the State of Qatar. Prior to his leadership at GDA, Al Dafa served as Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

Al Dafa has served as Ambassador of Qatar to the United States and Permanent Observer to the Organization of American States (OAS). In this capacity, he played a special role in promoting access to education and the arts in the Arab-American community and among other minority populations in the United States.

Al Dafa has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in foreign affairs and non-governmental services, which has included representing Qatar as Ambassador to the Russian Federation, France, Egypt and Spain. He has also served as the non-resident Ambassador to Switzerland, Greece, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Mexico. Mr. Al Dafa has also served as Director of the European and American Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Highlights of Al Dafa’s service with international non-governmental organizations include supervision of programmes for building housing for families with limited income in Africa and participation in landmine-removal programmes in the Balkans. In addition, he has actively participated in fund-raising programmes with various children’s hospitals that support the social needs of children in Asia and in North America and helped to raise funds and support for the empowerment of women in North Africa and Central Asia. He has also been involved in organizing conferences on democracy and free trade and inter-religious dialogue.

Wherever he has served, Mr. Al Dafa has focused on international arts and culture as a means to build better understanding between the Arab world and the international community. To this end, he has hosted many international art exhibitions and cultural events.

At the local level, Mr. Al Dafa has championed education through the Qatar Foundation by helping prominent United States universities establish themselves in Doha’s “Education City”. He is also instrumental in supporting religious freedom in Qatar by coordinating with various religious communities.

Mr. Al Dafa received his master’s degree in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University and his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Western Michigan University in the United States. He has been awarded the Ordre du Mérite from France. Ambassador Al Dafa is married to Awatef Al Dafa and has three children. He speaks Arabic, English and Spanish and enjoys reading, painting and music.