Presented by film producer Mimi Malayan, the great-granddaughter of Diana Apcar, the Armenian Studies program will host a free screening of “The Stateless Diplomat: Diana Apcar’s Heroic Life” at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 8 in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium at Fresno State. Free parking permits are available for lots P6 and P5 by contacting the Armenian Studies Program at 559.278.2669.
“The Stateless Diplomat” tells the story of Diana Apcar, who in 1920 was appointed by Prime Minister Hovhaness Kachaznuni of the Republic of Armenia as Honorary Consul to Japan. Apcar worked on behalf of Armenia and genocide survivors her entire life. She committed her passion and idealism to their cause, by writing books and articles, appealing to peace societies, academics, missionaries, and politicians. Diana Apcar and her husband moved to Japan in the 1890’s and established their business
and family. After the unexpected death of her husband, Apcar became the bread-winner for her three children and remained in Japan.
She devoted her energy to her people as well, writing books and articles about the plight of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, especially after the 1895-1896 massacres. Apcar helped save the lives of hundreds of Armenians fleeing the 1915-23 genocide by the Turkish government, by arranging for refugees to receive asylum in Japan, finding shelter for the refugees, and assisting them to find ultimate refuge in the United States. The movie utilizes Asian-inspired scrolling animation, a moving musical score, and captivating, dramatized readings from Apcar’s memoirs and letters, and interviews with relatives of those who Apcar assisted.
Mimi Malayan’s interest in the Diana Apcar film project is very personal: she is Diana Apcar’s great-granddaughter. Her interest in Apcar took hold in 2004, when she “found” the “lost” manuscript, From the Book of One Thousand Tales. Since then she has been researching her great-grandmother’s life and works, in an effort to create an extensive archive,
including photographs, documents, and memoirs by Armenian refugees in Japan.
As a San Francisco native, Malayan has spent many years volunteering with various local Armenian organizations. For ten years she served as a board member for the U.C. Berkeley Armenian Alumni and is currently a board member for Bay Area Friends of Armenian (BAFA).
The screening is co-sponsored by the Armenian National Committee Fresno Chapter and Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, Taniel Varoujan Chapter.