Ambassador Philippe J. Lhuillier donated a full-size bronze statue of Philippine National Hero Jose P. Rizal to the Universidad Complutense de Madrid at a ceremonial turnover that was held on Friday, 28 October 2022.
The event was held as part of the Philippine Embassy and University´s agreement under the Extraordinary Chair of Philippine Studies (Cátedra Extraordinaria de Filipinas). Dr Lamberto Ocampo gave a brief lecture on the life of our national hero during his studies in Madrid to “humanize” Jose Rizal and make people aware that he was an ordinary person who had his share of struggles as a Filipino living abroad, but who also answered the call to be of service to his country.
Ambassador Lhuillier remarked that 125 years after his death, Jose Rizal continues to inspire Filipinos, and continues to connect the Philippines with Spain. He added that the event was a way to honor Rizal’s legacy, and thanked Complutense for its role in nurturing him as a student, as well as Spain for providing him the environment to become the hero of the Philippines.
The Cátedra, which was initially proposed by Senator Loren Legarda and subsequently funded by the Philippine Congress, is envisioned to provide Spanish students in the undergraduate and graduate levels with a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the Philippines, through conferences on various fields of Philippine studies, as well as seminars, exhibits and other activities.
The donation of the statue to the University is part of the Philippine Embassy´s activities to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Philippines and Spain, which was established on 27 September 1947.