Ambassador Junever Mahilum-West (3rd from left) unveils the bust and pedestal of Dr. Jose Rizal along with Deputy Mayor of Paris Arnaud Ngatcha (2nd from left), Mayor Delphine Bürkli of the 9th arrondissement (3rd from right), Maria Cecilia Lopez Bretault (direct descendant of Dr. Rizal through his brother Paciano, 2nd from right), and Sir Ferdinand Suba KGCR, Supreme Archivist of the Knights of Rizal Supreme Council (extreme right).
PARIS—The bust and pedestal of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal was unveiled on 23 June 2022 at the Place named after him in 1999 at the bustling 9th arrondissement (district) of Paris.
“We are proud that Paris is now the latest addition to the long roster of major cities around the world that has a sculpture in honor of the Philippine national hero. This unveiling is a major milestone for the Philippines and France as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations on 26 June. I am confident that this bust of our national hero in Place Jose Rizal will be a must visit site for Filipinos all over the world,”said Philippine Ambassador Junever Mahilum-West.
The historic unveiling has been a long-awaited project by the Filipino community in France which finally came to fruition through the invaluable support of City Hall of Paris and the City Hall of the 9th arrondissement of Paris. Ambassador Junever M. Mahilum-West reiterated her appreciation to Paris City Mayor Anne Hidalgo, her Deputy Mayor Arnaud Ngatcha who is charge of International Relations and Francophonie, and Mayor Delphine Bürkli of the 9th arrondissement of Paris.
Ambassador Mahilum-West said, “I would like to pay tribute, in particular, to the unrelenting efforts of the Knights of Rizal, Las Damas de Rizal, Kababaihang Rizalista, Inc., and the Comité General des Associations Philippines en France (CGAPF) to raise funds for this project over the years. The Embassy would not have been able to achieve any of this without your hard work and sacrifices. This has been a collective effort by many members of the Filipino community, acting in unity for a shared goal.”
The Ambassador acknowledged the work of all the previous Philippine Ambassadors in Paris, from Ambassador Rora Navarro-Tolentino until Ambassador Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro who laid the important groundwork for the realization of this milestone project.
The Ambassador also thanked the sculptor and artist, Mr. Gerard Lartigue and writer Juliette Marne for their compassion and commitment to help complete this project.
The event was also attended by Maria Cecilia Lopez Bretault, one of the descendants of Dr. Rizal through his brother Paciano. Sir Ferdinand Suba KGCR, Supreme Archivist of the Knights of Jose Rizal Supreme Council, represented KOR Supreme Commander Sir Gerardo Calderon, KGCR. Numerous members of the different Rizalian organizations in France and Europe and members of various Filipino community organizations attended the unveiling ceremony.
Mayor Bürkli said that the 9th arrondissement was proud to host the bust of this great humanist who symbolized the universal values of freedom and equality. On behalf of Mayor Hidalgo, Deputy Mayor Ngatcha said this sculpture affirms that Paris, “as the City of Light” continues to be a beacon of enlightenment and openness for all.
Dr. Jose Rizal first arrived in France in the summer of 1883 and ended up staying for three months before embarking on his studies in Madrid, Spain. He later returned to train under renowned ophthalmologist Dr. Louis de Wecker in 1885-1886 and then travelled to France intermittently up to 1891 when he finished writing his second novel El Filibusterismo in Biarritz, France. END
Her Excellency Junever M. Mahilum-West giving her message
23 June 2022, Paris – The Philippine Embassy in Paris commemorated the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations with France at the Fête de la Musique on 21 June 2022. The Embassy partnered with Pinoy Jam Paris Association, a registered artist group in Paris with a roster of around 40 professional and amateur singers and musicians.
Dubbed “Philifolies2022”, this year’s Fête de la Musique was held at the Jardin Tino Rossi on the Left Bank of the river Seine and was attended by around 100 people watching over 15 artists who performed French, English and OPM songs.
Ambassador Junever M. Mahilum-West expressed “pride in sharing the musicality of the Filipino” and mentioned that the French Embassy in Manila also included the Fête de la Musique as one of its commemorative events for the 75th anniversary with the Philippines.
The first Fête de la Musique was started on 21 June 1982 by then Minister of Culture Jack Lang. His objective was to democratize access to music. Since then, the event has expanded to over eighty countries in five continents.
Pinoy Jam President Dennis Astorga-Chazelle (second from left) singing with other performers
Digital poster shared on Pinoy Jam and the Embassy’s social media channels
In the Philippines, Fête de la Musique started in 1994 and succeeded in becoming the most attended and recognized French event.
The Embassy’s event partner, Pinoy Jam, began participating in the Fête de la Musique in 2008, with events becoming more elaborate every year.
More information on Pinoy Jam may be found here: https://pinoyjamparis.com/about-us/
Photos of the event are available at the Embassy’s website: https://www.facebook.com/PHinFrance/photos/pcb.5596832690347617/5596830793681140/ END
19 June 2022 - As the Philippines commemorates the 161st birth anniversary of the National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, thirteen (13) members of the Filipino community in France graduated from the Ateneo Overseas Filipino Leadership, Innovation, Financial Literacy and Social Entrepreneurship (ALSE-OF LIFE) Program.
Graduates of the ALSE-OF LIFE Program with Ambassador Junever M. Mahilum-West, Mr. John West, and First Secretary Marge Malang.
The ALSE-OF LIFE is a program launched by the Ateneo School of Government and its partners: Overseas Filipino Society for the Promotion of Economic Security, Inc.; Social Enterprise Development Partnerships, Inc.; and UGAT Foundation, etc., to empower global Filipinos and provide them with basic skills in leadership, social innovation, financial literacy and social entrepreneurship. The program consists of 12 sessions conducted over 6 months with particular focus on the following: a) empowering overseas Filipinos to view themselves as agents of positive change and transformation; b) improving their economic security, for retirement/reintegration in the Philippines; and c) exploring potentials for changing their livelihood options, either in the host country or back in the Philippines.
Left photo: Ambassador Mahilum-West delivers her remarks at the ALSE-OF LIFE Graduation. Right photo: Representative of the Ateneo School of Government addresses this year’s Graduates virtually.
Ambassador Junever M. Mahilum-West congratulated all the graduates and thanked them for their invaluable contribution not just to their host country, France, but most importantly, to the Philippines. With their successful completion of the ALSE-OF LIFE Programme, they are pursuing a path of excellence or “magis,” and following the footsteps of Rizal, an Atenean and a global Filipino himself, in bringing pride to the Philippines.
The Ambassador also extended her appreciation to the organizers and volunteers of ALSE-OF LIFE, noting that the program could be among the Philippines’ concrete contributions to UNESCO’s Transforming Education Summit.
ALSE-OF LIFE in Paris, France started in 2013 and has thus far produced five (5) batches of successful graduates. They are part of the Filipino community in France who continue to enrich people-to-people exchanges among the Filipinos and French. The Philippines and France celebrate the 75th year of diplomatic relations this year. END
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