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Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Part of UK in Bolivia

5th August 2011

End of Mission

This will be my last blog entry from La Paz. I am about to complete my mission here after just under four most stimulating and fascinating years in Bolivia. From later this month, I shall be taking up my new post as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to The Holy See. My successor, Ross Denny, arrives in Bolivia in October.

It is difficult to believe that four years have flown by, and I shall be sorry to leave this extraordinary country. I think it is true to say that a diplomat is never bored in Bolivia, and I have had my fair share of excitement. I have witnessed Presidential elections, Recall Referenda, Autonomy referenda and regional elections. I was a participant in the national dialogue that allowed the country to agree a new Constitution, after the violence and instability of September and October 2008. I have seen British commercial interests nationalised (I hope that the outstanding compensation cases will soon be settled justly and by mutual agreement), and major new British investments announced. Two British Ministers – Kim Howells and Jeremy Browne – have visited Bolivia, the first ministerial visits since the 1990s. Our bilateral relationship with the government of Bolivia – in counter-narcotics co-operation, climate change discussions, commercial and investment dialogue, the role of NGOs, collaboration in human rights, culture and sport, visa and consular issues – has, I believe, strengthened and deepened.

I should like to thank my many Bolivian friends from all walks of life for their patience, their warmth, and their understanding. And I should like to thank all of you who read, and especially those who have commented on, this blog which I hope has helped to contribute a little to the relationship between the United Kingdom and Bolivia, and to your understanding of the work and concerns of a British diplomat.

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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