FRESNO—Mimi Malayan, great-granddaughter of Diana Apcar, will present her film “The Stateless Diplomat: Diana Apcar’s Heroic Life” at California State University, Fresno. The presentation will take place on Tuesday, October 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, located at 5241 N Maple Ave, Fresno, CA 93740.
The presentation is part of the Armenian Studies Program Fall 2019 Lecture Series and is co-sponsored by the Armenian National Committee, Central California and the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, Taniel Varoujan chapter of Fresno.
“The Stateless Diplomat” tells the story of Diana Apcar, who, in 1920, was appointed as Honorary Consul to Japan by Prime Minister Hovhaness Kachaznuni of the Republic of Armenia. 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.
In 1890 an Armenian entrepreneur, Michael Apcar, brought his wife, an aspiring writer named Diana and their newborn daughter, to Japan – a country that had recently opened to the world and was bursting with opportunities for new businesses. After two bankruptcies Michael suddenly died, leaving Diana with debts and three children in a foreign land. She had to support her family and stabilize the business, eventually making it a success; yet she still wanted to focus her energy elsewhere.
She soon committed her passion and idealism to the Armenian cause. She wrote a book a year, appealed to peace societies and sent her articles to major European and American newspapers, pleading her case: Armenians’ right for “security of life and property on the soil of their own country.”
Apcar helped save the lives of hundreds of Armenians fleeing the 1915 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, as well as 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, Mimi has spent many years volunteering with various local Armenian organizations, providing her with unique access to community leaders. She served as a board member for the University of California, Berkeley Armenian Alumni for ten years, and is currently a board member for Bay Area Friends of Armenia.
Arthur Muradyan directed the film and works as director/producer in the field of video production, with an emphasis on motion graphics and animation. Currently, he produces short films, educational videos and motion graphics in partnership with Ekaterina Rossikhina, DBA Animatography.
The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking, with a permit, is available in Lot P6 or P5. Free parking codes are available through the Armenian Studies Program.