Nigel Baker

Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

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2nd November 2015

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Nostra Aetate: An appeal for our times

Nostra aetate (trans. “In our Time”) was the shortest of the many official documents that emerged from the Second Vatican Council. It was sub-titled “Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions”. Passed by an overwhelming majority of the bishops present, and promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 28 October 1965, the Holy […]

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21st October 2015

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Against Extremism

The United Kingdom is built on values like democracy, respect and tolerance. These unite the nation, and help our society develop and thrive. They are supported by the overwhelming majority of people in our country. But these values have become challenged and threatened in recent years in an unprecedented way, by extremists seeking to spread […]

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14th October 2015

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Rome: the global home of religious encounter

All the media focus here at the Vatican at the moment is on the cut and thrust of debate at the Synod of Bishops, meeting on the issue of the family. Amidst the coverage of differences between bishops, proposals on pastoral practice and doctrine, and the views of the Pope, one important dimension has been […]

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9th October 2015

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Women, peace and security: a high priority

On 13 October there will be a High Level Review at the United Nations to commemorate 15 years since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. This was a ground breaking resolution that recognised not only the inordinate impact of war on women and girls, but also the pivotal role women should and do […]

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29th September 2015

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

The Jubilee of Mercy: a guide for British pilgrims

What does Pope Francis’s announcement of the Jubilee Year of Mercy mean for an embassy accredited to the Holy See? Above all, it means many more people coming to Rome, and specifically to the Holy Door of St Peter’s Basilica, not as tourists but as pilgrims. Our role, together with the British Embassy to Italy, […]

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21st September 2015

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Cuba and the Church: from cocktail wars to a common future

Just over ten years ago, the European Union embassies in Cuba, including the United Kingdom, were involved in a stand-off with the Cuban government in Havana that became immortalised as “the cocktail wars”. Despite the seemingly frivolous impression given of the spat (which concerned the invitation to embassy receptions of dissident Cubans), there were deadly […]

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16th September 2015

Lord Patten of Barnes

Government co-ordinator of Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom in 2010

The Papal Visit, five years on

It is already five years since the historic visit of Emeritus Pope Benedict to England and Scotland. Shortly after David Cameron won the 2010 General Election, he asked me if I would co-ordinate government support for this visit. I agree on three conditions to which he readily acceded. First, I said that the Catholic hierarchy […]

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9th September 2015

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

The Queen: a personal view

© Press Association

This blog needs no other title. We all know who we mean when we speak of The Queen. And there is plenty of information around the web at the moment (the BBC, for example, has many fascinating details about Her Majesty’s reign on its website). At 63 years seven months and counting, The Queen this […]

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1st September 2015

Nigel Baker

by Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

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

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy to the Holy See

The Holy See and Astronomy

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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About Nigel Baker

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as…

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. 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). In July 2016, Nigel finished his posting, and is currently back in London.

As the first British Ambassador to the Holy See ever to have a blog, Nigel provided a regular window on what the Embassy and the Ambassador does. The blogs covered a wide range of issues, from Royal and Ministerial visits to Diplomacy and Faith, freedom of religion, human trafficking and climate change.

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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