Smithsonian Institution.

Profile: Smithsonian Institution.

1- Name of NGO:

Smithsonian Institution.

2- Brief & Mission:

Despite its small size, the UAE has wielded significant influence in America for an extended period. This influence is attributed to several factors, including its possession of the world’s seventh largest oil reserves, which holds immense strategic value for the U.S. The UAE utilizes non-profit organizations as tools to further its interests in the USA. Among the non-profits contacted by UAE foreign agents, the Smithsonian Institution was the most frequently engaged. In late 2017, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the UAE and the D.C.-based museum, aiming to enhance cultural exchanges and foster collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and UAE-based cultural and research organizations.

3- Bias, Agenda & Motivation:

As the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, the Smithsonian Institution comprises 21 museums and the National Zoo. Its mission is to preserve heritage, generate new knowledge, and share resources globally. By partnering with the UAE, the Smithsonian Institution actively promotes and supports the goals and objectives of the UAE within the United States.

4- Links to Governments/Political Agenda:

There have been allegations that this Institute actively promotes the foreign policy objectives of the UAE, as its agenda seems to align closely with the policies of the UAE.

5- Sources of Funding:

Allegations have also surfaced regarding the receipt of funds by the institution from the UAE.

6- Activities:

The institute in question engages in activities that promote the narrative favored by the UAE. It is common for foreign government funding to come with certain expectations, such as organizing events on specific topics that align with the UAE’s preferred narrative and inviting targeted audiences, producing op-eds and research papers, and cultivating relationships with specific individuals to strengthen ties. 

UAE foreign agents engaged with Smithsonian staff to discuss the UAE’s participation in the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival. These efforts seem to have yielded positive results, as the Smithsonian recently announced that the UAE will be one of the featured countries at the renowned D.C. festival in 2020.

7- NGO Leadership:

Carol LeBlanc is the chairperson of the institution.

8- Controversy:

Non-profit organizations were the primary targets of UAE foreign agents, which, although not uncommon, highlights the UAE’s exceptional dedication to this subtle method of exerting influence. Interactions with non-profits, such as the Smithsonian Institution, serve the UAE’s objectives of enhancing its image in the U.S., fostering research and business collaborations, and facilitating charitable contributions from Emiratis.

9- Contact Details:

  • Website:
  • Address:USA
  • Email:

10- Classification/Blacklist:

The institution has been labeled as blacklisted because of its associations with UAE governments.

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