Nigel Baker

Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

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1st September 2015 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Preferential option for the poor: Government and Church together

Picture Paul McSherry.

There is plenty of bad news about. But let’s also celebrate the success stories. One such has been the partnership between the UK’s principal Catholic charities from the Caritas Internationalis family and the British government in their joint efforts to maximise funds raised by British donors to support projects benefiting some of the world’s poorest people. […]

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25th August 2015 Holy See

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy to the Holy See

The Holy See and Astronomy

The Vatican Observatory. Image: ESA©

On 25 August 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to the Venetian authorities. This invention opened up the skies, and piqued men’s interest in the planets and stars around us and beyond, which in turn has led to modern wonders such as men on the moon, the Hubble space telescope, the Rosetta mission to […]

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17th August 2015 Holy See

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy to the Holy See

Diplomatic Uniforms at the Holy See

Steve Townsend

One of the quirks of being posted to the Holy See is that it is one of the few in the world where Ambassador and Deputy Head of Mission regularly have to wear diplomatic uniforms. It comes as a surprise to many that the Foreign Office has a uniform at all – unless they had […]

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6th August 2015 Holy See

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy to the Holy See

Modern Slavery and the UK

The Home Secretary and  Pope Francis

The UK’s Modern Slavery Act came into force on 31 July  This landmark legislation brought into law some important new provisions. These include mechanisms to seize traffickers assets and use those funds to help compensate victims, prevention orders to ensure that those who pose a risk of committing modern slavery offences cannot work sectors where they will […]

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29th July 2015 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Remember the kidnapped in Syria

Image: ReligionforPeace.org©

“How do you define an extremist?”. I once asked this question of a wise friend of mine, who was always critical of imprecise language used by journalists to describe people who held different views. “An extremist”, he said, “is someone incapable of seeing the good in the other. He must therefore dedicate himself to attacking […]

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15th July 2015 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Engaging the world

Dave

On his recent visit to Latin America, Pope Francis reminded us of the need for international solidarity and a universal vision. It is not always easy for national governments to meet such aspirations in full. After all, they are in the final analysis – especially if they are democratically elected – accountable to their own […]

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10th July 2015 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Pope Francis and Bolivia

PopeBolivia

The following is a guest blog by Steve Townsend, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy to the Holy See Pope Francis is currently in Latin America, visiting Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. There is a particular interest for me, as I spent over three years in Bolivia as Deputy Head of Mission, which left me with many […]

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1st July 2015 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Global networks

2015Pallium

This is a networked world. And yet there are few genuinely global networks out there. By that I mean networks that have a capacity to operate globally, co-ordinated centrally but operating in capillary fashion, horizontally in a radial pattern as well as vertically in a hub and spoke model. One of the reasons why we […]

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24th June 2015 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Helsinki forty years on

IMG_9215

Confrontation across ideological fault lines. Division in Europe. Pessimism about international affairs. You might think I am referring to today’s international situation. But in fact I would like you to cast your mind back forty years to 1975 and the Cold War. Under the cloud of mutually assured destruction, Europe and the wider world needed […]

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16th June 2015 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

The Church and Magna Carta

©The British Library

On 15 June we celebrated the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. It is extraordinary how a document agreed in 1215 between a medieval English king and his leading subjects continues to resonate down the ages, wherever people believe in the rule of law. I recently wrote an article trying to set Magna Carta in its proper […]

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About Nigel Baker

Nigel is currently British Ambassador to the Holy See. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy in Havana, Cuba (2003-6) and then as British Ambassador in La Paz, Bolivia (2007-11).

As the first British Ambassador to the Holy See ever to have a blog, Nigel provides a window on what the Embassy and the Ambassador does. The issues Nigel has written about include: Women at the Holy See, British Parliamentarians’ visit to the Holy See, Diplomacy and Faith and the phenomenon of World Youth Day.

More on Nigel’s career

Nigel was based in London between 1998 and 2003. He spent two years on European Union issues (for the UK 1998 EU Presidency and on European Security and Defence questions), before crossing St James’s Park to work for three years as The Assistant Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. At St James’s Palace, Nigel worked on international issues, including the management of The Prince of Wales’s overseas visits and tours, on the Commonwealth, interfaith issues, the arts and international development.

Nigel spent much of the early part of his FCO career in Central Europe, after an initial stint as Desk Officer for the Maghreb countries in the Near East and North Africa department (1990-91). Between 1992 and 1996, Nigel served in the British embassies in Prague and Bratislava, the latter being created in 1993 after the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia into the separate Czech and Slovak Republics.

Nigel joined the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in September 1989. Between 1996 and 1998 he took a two year academic sabbatical to research and write about themes in 18th century European history, being based in Verona but also researching in Cambridge, Paris and Naples. The research followed from Nigel’s time as a student at Cambridge (1985-88) where he read history and was awarded a First Class Honours degree, followed by his MA in 1992.

Before joining the Foreign Office, Nigel worked briefly for the Conservative Research Department in London at the time of the 1989 European election campaign.

Nigel married Alexandra (Sasha) in 1997. They have one son, Benjamin, born in Bolivia in September 2008.

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