Who are the G7 Sherpas?
Their key role ahead of the G7 Summit in Taormina, Italy.
The G7‘s institutional structure is headed by a “Sherpa,” personal representatives of the Heads of State and of Government of the world’s seven most industrially advanced countries.
The role they play is named after the figures that guide adventurers to Himalayan peaks. Like the mountain climbing porters, the G7 Sherpas do the heavy lifting, overcoming obstacles and safely navigating the chosen paths, thereby defining those positions that will be undersigned at the Summit, on important global issues.
Sherpas are also responsible for the preparatory process preceding the Summit and oversees negotiations regarding the drafting of the Final Communiqué.
Sherpas regularly communicate with each other in connection with their respective leaders’ positions and proposals on international issues, and they are in touch with their leaders directly at all times.
The post of Sherpa in Italy is traditionally held by a high-ranking diplomat.
The Sherpas are supported in their role by Foreign Affairs Sous-Sherpas (FASS) and a Political Directors (PD). They are assisted by a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the PD) who is responsible for foreign and security policy issues, and by another representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the FASS) who is generally in charge of such cross-cutting issues as the environment, social and economic aspects, and development.
The Economy and Finance Ministry, on the other hand, handles the economic and financial issues on the Summit’s agenda. Ad hoc working groups can also be set up to address particularly complex, technical issues.
THE FIRST G7 SHERPA MEETING IN ROME
The work of the G7 year under Italy’s Presidency got under way with the first meeting of the Group’s Sherpas on January 26–27, in Rome.
The meeting planned the path to the Taormina Summit, to be held on May 26–27. On this occasion, the Italian government will host the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Sherpas discussed the topics and goals proposed by the Italian Presidency for the year, particularly: global economy and trade, climate and energy, innovation, new skills and the future of labor, women empowerment and human mobility. The meeting ended with an overview of the issues that will be addressed during the first Ministerial Meeting on Culture to be held in Florence on March 30–31.
WHO ARE THE 2017 SHERPAS?
ITALY’S SHERPA 🇮🇹 RAFFAELE TROMBETTA
Born in 1960 in Naples, Ambassador Raffaele Trombetta has been in the Foreign Service for over thirty years. He is now the Italian Sherpa in charge of the preparatory process for the Summit of the G7 Heads of State and of Government. He will oversee the negotiations for the drafting of the 2017 final communiqué.
After graduating in Political Science from the University of Naples and getting a Master’s in European Studies at the London School of Economics, Amb. Trombetta joined Italy’s diplomatic corp in 1985. His first foreign assignments were in Bogotá as First Secretary of the Delegation and then in London, as General Consul.
In 1995 he returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was promoted first Chief of the Secretariat of the Directorate General for Economic Affairs and then Counselor to the Legation in the Cabinet of the then-Foreign Affairs Minister Susanna Agnelli.
In 1998 he began working as Counselor to the Permanent Mission of Italy to the European Union and in 2002 he was appointed Deputy Chief of Mission in Beijing. Upon promotion to the rank of Plenipotentiary Minister, he returned to Italy as Deputy Director General for Asia, Oceania, the Pacific and Antarctica and then as Deputy Director General for the European Union and Central Director for European Integration.
In January 2013, he was appointed Italian Ambassador to Brazil and also took over in Paramaribo (Suriname). He was the Chief of Cabinet during Foreign Affairs Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s tenure and, in January 2017, was appointed Personal Representative and Sherpa of the President of the Council of Ministers for the G7 and the G20.
CANADA 🇨🇦 PETER MICHAEL BOEHM
Deputy minister of international development since March 2016, Peter Boehm also serves as Personal Representative (sherpa) of the Prime Minister for the G7 leaders’ summits. He had previously been associate and, subsequently, senior associate deputy minister of foreign affairs. A career foreign service officer, he served as ambassador to Germany from 2008 to 2012 and previously in the department as assistant deputy minister for the Americas, North America and consular affairs. He was also the department’s first chief political/economic officer. Abroad, he was minister (political and public affairs) at the Canadian embassy in Washington (2001–04) and ambassador and permanent representative to the Organization of American States, or OAS (1997–2001). He has held a variety of positions in the department and was also assigned to the Canadian embassies in Havana, Cuba, and San José, Costa Rica. In 1993, Mr. Boehm received the Canadian Foreign Service Officer Award for his contribution to advancing peace in Central America. In the Americas, he served as national summit coordinator for the Santiago and Québec summits, special envoy for the OAS Democratization Mission in Peru and personal representative (sherpa) of the prime minister for the Mar del Plata Summit in 2005. From 2005 to 2008, he was the senior official responsible for the North American leaders’ summits. He is a recipient of the Public Service of Canada Outstanding Achievement Award. Born in Kitchener, Ontario, Mr. Boehm holds a PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh, an MA from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and an Honours BA in English and History from Wilfrid Laurier University.
EU 🇪🇺 PIOTR SERAFIN
Piotr Serafin is the Head of the Cabinet for European Commission President Donald Tusk and is the G7/G20 Sherpa. Serafin is a career civil servant who previously worked with President Tusk when Tusk was the President of Poland.
FRANCE 🇫🇷 JACQUES AUDIBERT
Jacques Audibert is G7 & G20 Sherpa and Special Diplomatic Advisor to President François Hollande. A diplomat who has held ministerial office and worked in the Bonn, Hanoi, Quebec and London embassies. He was also Director General for Political Affairs in the Quai D’Orsay for 5 years. He joined President Holland’s team at the Élysée in 2014.
GERMANY 🇩🇪 LARS-HENDRICK ROLLER
Lars-Hendrik Röller has headed the German Chancellery’s Directorate 4, which is responsible for economic and finance policy, since July 2011. He serves as Chanecellor Angela Merkel’s chief economic advisor and sherpa for the annual G7 and G20 summits. Röller’s team in the Chancellery also coordinates German positions for negotiations on a transatlantic free trade and investment partnership (TTIP) with the United States. Röller combines a strong understanding of economic theory with an unusual grasp of practical economic workings within the European Union. He worked as chief economist for the EU’s Directorate-General for Competition from 2003 to 2006 before becoming president of the European School for Management and Technology, a private Berlin business school that gave Röller the opportunity to build contacts with German business leaders. A more critical article in the daily Die Welt argued that Röller, at least initially, clung too much to his academic style and was slow to adapt to the political requirements of his new position in the Chancellery.
JAPAN 🇯🇵 KEEICHI KATAKAMI
Keiichi Katakami is a Deputy Foreign Minister and G7/G2o Sherpa. He was previously the Japanese Ambassador to the EU, and a former director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Economic Affairs Bureau.
UK 🇬🇧 SIMON CASE
Simon Case was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary in January 2016. He is also the UK Sherpa for the G7 and the G20. Previously Simon was Director of Strategy at GCHQ. Simon joined the Civil Service in 2006. His previous roles have included postings with the Northern Ireland Office and the Cabinet Office, where he was Director General of the Implementation Group. Simon worked in Number 10 between autumn 2012 and July 2014, where he served as Private Secretary and later as Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister.
US 🇺🇸 KENNETH JUSTER
Kenneth I. Juster serves as Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs. He coordinates the Administration’s international economic policy and integrate it with national security and foreign policy. He will also be the President’s representative and lead U.S. negotiator (“Sherpa”) for the annual G-7, G-20, and APEC Summits. Juster has previously served in the U.S. Government as Under Secretary of Commerce (2001–2005), Counselor (Acting) of the Department of State (1992–1993), Deputy and Senior Advisor to Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger (1989–1992), and Law Clerk to Judge James L. Oakes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1980–1981). In the private sector, Juster has been a Partner and Managing Director at the global investment firm Warburg Pincus (2010–2017), Executive Vice President of salesforce.com (2005–2010), and Senior Partner at the law firm Arnold & Porter (1981–1989, 1993–2001). Juster has also served as Chairman of the Advisory Committee of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Vice Chairman of the Board of the Asia Foundation, and a member of the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the American Academy of Diplomacy. Among his honors, Juster is the recipient of the Secretary of Commerce’s William C. Redfield Award and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award. Juster holds an A.B. in Government from Harvard College, a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and a J.D. from the Harvard Law School.
For more on the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, and our dispatches on the Italian presidency of the G7 in 2017, follow our G7inUS publication here on Medium and Medium Italiano, or follow us on Twitter. For the official channel of the G7 presidency in 2017, follow @G7 on Twitter or visit the G7 official website.