Pizza diplomacy is a term used to describe the use of pizza as a tool for diplomacy or conflict resolution. It refers to the practice of using food, specifically pizza, as a way to build bridges between people, ease tensions, and create a more positive atmosphere for discussion.
Pizza Diplomacy is a term coined by the New York Times in February 1985, which refers to the efforts of the USA to improve diplomatic relations between the USA and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In 1984, President Reagan met with the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev and, during the course of the meeting, Gorbachev asked the President for a slice of American-style pizza. Reagan obliged, and the gesture was seen as a sign of good faith between the two leaders. The term ‘Pizza Diplomacy’ was born, and the gesture was seen as a major step forward in the Cold War. The term has since been used to refer to any diplomatic gesture that involves food.
In more recent times, pizza diplomacy has been used by politicians and leaders as a way to break the ice or ease tensions during negotiations. For example, in 2017, during a meeting between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, they had dinner together, featuring a main course of Wagyu beef and a dessert of chocolate cake, but reportedly, the highlight of the meal was the fact that they shared a large pepperoni pizza.