|5th Republic of Poland Ambassador to the United Kingdom|
October 24, 2006 – present
|Preceded by||Zbigniew Matuszewski|
March 24, 1956 |
Barbara Krystyna Tuge-Erecińska (born March 24, 1956) is the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, appointed by President Lech Kaczyński on 24 October 2006.
After graduating in 1980 from the University of Gdańsk at the onset of the anti-communist Solidarity movement, Barbara Tuge-Erecińska joined the Union and set up the Solidarity International Department. "In a way, this was my first diplomatic post," she says. Her father and grandfather were members of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa) during the German and Soviet occupations of Poland in World War II. They were arrested by the Soviets and sent to Siberia. Both survived the gulags thanks to lifesaving determination of her father.
Tuge-Erecinska worked closely with Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa during the 1980s. When martial law was declared in Poland on December 13, 1981, she joined the protest in the shipyard. She was the one to smuggle out the official statement by the striking workers that the resistance would continue in spite of military coup d'état. She assisted families of political prisoners and set up a commission with the Polish Church to help them. Active in the underground during the martial law in Poland, she was harassed by the communist party. "It wasn't a big deal compared to what happened to some," she remembers. "The worst experience was when my son was one year old -- to see those security men searching in my baby's cot." Nearly a decade later, in 1989 during the first partially free elections in the Eastern Block, Tuge-Erecinska was appointed Gdańsk’s liaison with the foreign dignitaries and journalists visiting Wałęsa, Poland's ‘real’ president. After Wałęsa’s election victory in 1990, she was appointed Ambassador to Sweden (1991–97). "At 35, not only was I the only female at our embassy, I was also the youngest member of staff," she told British Diplomat magazine.
In 1999 Barbara Tuge-Erecińska became Poland's first woman Deputy Foreign Minister, the position held until 2001, and again in 2005. During her inaugural speech as Ambassador to the UK, Tuge-Erecińska said: "I feel privileged to be posted to this special place, which supported us during the darkest days..." Her work as the highest ranking diplomat revolves around the Polish participation in the EU with its complex political life and economy. Her son studied in Denmark and now works in UK.
- Lech Kaczyński. Chancellery of the President. Announcements. Warsaw, February 24, 2009
- Diplomat magazine, Her Excellency Barbara Tuge-Erecinska, Ambassador of Poland Elizabeth Stewart England
- Belfast City Council, "Polish ambassador visits Belfast to look at shared issues." 11 March 2008
- M.P. 1998 nr 5 poz. 72 – point 552.
- Alice Miles and Anthony Browne, The Times, Barbara Tuge-Erecinska is getting down to business February 10, 2007
- European Commission, "Cross-border cooperation under the framework of the Northern Dimension" by Barbara Krystyna Tuge-Erecińska, Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland