Nigel Baker

Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

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29th April 2016 Holy See

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy to the Holy See

Britain and Human Rights

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report was published on 21 April.  This report is aimed at increasing awareness of the UK’s role in promoting human rights work overseas, and to encourage countries to uphold and maintain their international human rights record. The Report lists 30 human rights priority countries: these […]

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22nd April 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Celebrating St George

©Martin Beek, all rights reserved

There are many oddities in English history. One is that our patron saint is St George. It is an ecumenical oddity. His feast day, 23 April, is both a Solemnity in the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church in England, and a ‘Feast’ in the Church of England calendar (and he is a major saint […]

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14th April 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Shakespeare at the Vatican: family, mercy and a red hat

Hamlet at the Vatican

How could the British embassy to the Holy See contribute to the Shakespeare 400th anniversary this year? There is an extraordinary programme of official events organised under the Shakespeare Lives banner, but the Vatican was not an obvious element. And although the Royal Shakespeare Company had performed Shakespearean excerpts before Pope Paul VI in 1964, the […]

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6th April 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

The Pope and Ukraine’s future

Ukraine's next generation

The Pope’s announcement at St Peter’s on 3 April that he is calling for a collection on behalf of the long suffering land and people of Ukraine was a significant gesture. On 24 April, all Catholic parishes in Europe will raise money for a country that since the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 […]

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31st March 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Religions against extremism

Religions against extremism

After recent days, we can now add Brussels, Lahore and Istanbul to the growing litany of places directly affected by extemist violence. This was committed apparently in the name of religion, against targets variously identified by the perpetrators as Christians, Israeli tourists, and ordinary “secular” citizens, going about their normal lives. The words “religious” and […]

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23rd March 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Fifty Anglican years at the Vatican

Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope in 1966

March 1966 saw an historic visit to the Vatican, the first official visit by an Archbishop of Canterbury since – incredibly – Thomas Arundel in 1398. Rightly, it will be much celebrated during the year ahead. The visit had been made possible by the Second Vatican Council, which formally opened up the Roman Catholic Church […]

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15th March 2016 Holy See

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy to the Holy See

The Screwtape Letters

Mountains of Mourne 2 (1)bis

On 14-16 March we are celebrating Northern Ireland. One of Northern Ireland’s best-known, and best-loved writers is Clive Staples Lewis, who was born in Belfast in 1898. His most famous works are the Narnia series, following the adventures of the Pevensie children (based on a group of children who were evacuated to stay with him […]

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10th March 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Archbishop Gallagher in the UK

Archbishop Gallagher visits the UK

Last week I accompanied the Holy See Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, on a visit to the United Kingdom. He came at the invitation of the British government, so inevitably much of his time was taken up in official meetings with a wide range of government ministers. He visited five different Departments […]

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26th February 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Humanitarian aid: the faith dimension

UK aid for Ethiopia food crisis  DFID

In May this year, the first World Humanitarian Summit will be held in Istanbul. The United Kingdom sees this as a real opportunity to take stock of how humanitarian aid around the world is distributed, and to improve the effectiveness of delivery to ensure that aid reaches those most in need. Humanitarian aid needs to […]

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19th February 2016 Holy See

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See

Papal globetrotting

Pope Francis visits Mexico

The Pope’s latest trip, to Mexico, and comment to journalists on his return that he’d like to go to China, has set me thinking about the way travel has changed Papal interaction with the world over the last fifty years. It is difficult to believe that before Pope Paul VI, Papal travel outside Italy was […]

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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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