Sherpa diplomacy refers to a practice in international relations where a trusted and experienced individual, known as a ‘sherpa’, is appointed to prepare and lay the groundwork for high-level diplomatic meetings between leaders of different countries. The term ‘sherpa’ is derived from the Sherpa people of Nepal who are known for their expertise in leading climbers up Mount Everest.
In the context of diplomacy, a sherpa typically serves as a behind-the-scenes negotiator, working to bridge the gaps between the different parties and to identify areas of common ground. They may also be responsible for preparing the agenda, setting the tone for the meeting, and helping to craft any agreements that are reached.
The use of sherpa diplomacy has become increasingly common in recent years, particularly in the lead-up to major international summits or conferences. By appointing a trusted intermediary to do the groundwork and prepare the way, leaders can often achieve more productive and successful outcomes from their meetings.