Key Experience

  • Served for a decade as legislative affairs director for the U.A.E. Embassy in the United States and was the country’s lead representative to the U.S. Congress.
  • Focuses on national security, foreign affairs and international trade in the MENA region.
  • Has extensive experience with the U.S. Departments of Defense and State on Foreign Military Sales, export controls and sanctions.


Prior to joining Akin Gump, Hagir Elawad served as a senior advisor to the U.A.E. government in the United States. She created and led the U.A.E. Embassy’s (“Embassy’s”) Congressional Affairs Section and Political-Military Affairs portfolio, where she engaged with the U.S. Congress and U.S. Executive Branch agencies on key areas of U.S.-U.A.E. bilateral cooperation. In this capacity, Hagir focused on:

  • Bilateral and regional agreements
  • Energy
  • International trade
  • Defense and intelligence cooperation
  • Government procurement
  • Aviation and aerospace
  • Export controls
  • Energy
  • Sanctions
  • Counterterrorism and counterextremism
  • Labor and human rights
  • Women’s rights.

Representative Work

  • Led the Embassy’s effort to ensure congressional approval of the U.S.-U.A.E. 123 Agreement for Peaceful Civilian Nuclear Energy Cooperation. The agreement, which enabled the U.A.E. to receive nuclear training, materials and equipment from the United States, is known as the non-proliferation “gold standard,” because the U.A.E. agreed to forego the right to enrich its own uranium.
  • Coordinated efforts to obtain congressional approval for the first overseas sale of the multibillion-dollar Lockheed Martin Corporation Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) to the United Arab Emirates.
  • Secured congressional support to establish a U.S. Customs pre-clearance facility in Abu Dhabi—the first of its kind in the Middle East.
  • Supported efforts to reaffirm and apply the U.S.-U.A.E. Open Skies Agreement and the U.S.-U.A.E. Tax Treaty, and to establish U.S.-U.A.E. Economic Dialogue.

Public Service and Affiliations