The Lhuillier name has become familiar with Filipinos mainly because of the popularity and nationwide presence of CebuanaLhuillier pawnshops. As its long-time CEO and President, Jean Henri Lhuillier is generally known to the Filipino public as the man behind the Cebuana Lhuillier brand.
Jean Henri Lhuillier, or JHL, however, wears many hats: a very successful businessman and highly respected tycoon; an advocate of entrepreneurs and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises; a public service leader who leads socio-civic initiatives for marginalized groups through the PJL Foundation; and an ardent supporter of Philippine sports development through softball, and tennis.
But there is another role JHL portrays that is very distinguished but many Filipinos may not be aware of: the first Honorary Consul General of the Republic of San Marino to the Philippines.
Located on the northeastern side of the Apennine Mountains and surrounded by north-central Italy, San Marino is recognized as the world’s oldest surviving republic and the fifth-smallest country in the world covering a land area of just over 61 sq km.
The Republic of San Marino decided to establish a General Consulate in the Philippines in 2007 to monitor and report on political, economic, and social developments in the Philippines (with a particular focus on the fast-growing tourism sector), to promote trade and cultural exchanges between San Marino and the Philippines, to raise awareness of San Marino, and to assist Sammarinese here in the country. To head this General Consulate, The Republic of San Marino instated JHL as the first Honorary Consul General of the Republic of San Marino to the Philippines.
After being bestowed the position, JHL proudly said: “It is a priceless honor. I am thankful to the great state of San Marino for granting me this privilege, and for entrusting its welfare under my stewardship here in a country so far away. I take special pride to be its representative, and be able to share the rich culture and traditions that it has with the Filipino community”.
As Honorary Consul General, JHL created a ten point agenda that the General Consulate has undertaken in the fulfillment of its functions and accomplishment of its goals.
- Trade and Economic Cooperation- taking part in the European Chamber of Commerce and spearheaded a Memorandum of Understanding on intercountry adoption.
- Cultural Exchange Program
- Diplomatic Consulates – assisting Samarinese here in the Philippines and maintaining international relations through the Consular Corps.
- Educational Partnerships – encouraging educational exchanges, like internships.
- Technology and Innovation – partnering with San Marino Innovations.
- Environmental Collaboration – organizing events such as Fun run for the Mangroves and Night Bazaars.
- Healthcare Cooperation – spearheading a program that assures the mental health of soon-to-be adopted kids.
- Sports and Youth engagements –conducting lectures among FEU students entitled “Beyond Diplomacy: Cultural ties between the Philippines and The Republic of San Marino”; publishing a children’s book about finding families and the importance of love and care which won the Filipino’s Choice Award at this year’s Philippine Book Festival; and, holding sports clinics
- Crisis Response and Humanitarian Aid – taking active part in different disaster assistance programs.
- Engaging with other Diplomats – joining affairs and celebrations hosted by Diplomats of other nations to support the goal of their countries to make a mark in the Philippines.
The Honorary Consul General of San Marino’s ten-point agenda has proven to be very successful throughout the years in protecting, promoting, and facilitating not only the interests of the Republic of San Marino but those of the Philippines as well.
In honor of Jean Henri Lhuillier’s work and dedication to service , the Republic of San Marino conferred him with the rank of Official Knight of the Equestrian Order of Saint Agatha. The Order, given to foreign nationals who have positively contributed charitable and other services for the benefit of San Marino with at least 10 years of service, was conferred on Jean Henri, despite serving for only 7 years, because of his exemplary work and contribution to the state as its Consul General in the Philippines.