BURBANK—The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church and the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles, supported by the Little Tokyo Service Center, the Japanese American National Museum, and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, will co-sponsor a special presentation on the legacy of Diana Apcar by Dr. Meline Mesropyan of Tohoku University, Japan. Apcar, who lived in Japan from 1891 to 1937, is known for her major impact on Japan-Armenia relations, and for assisting Armenian refugees.
The presentation will take place on Tuesday, September 17 at 7 p.m., at the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, 3325 N. Glenoaks Boulevard, Burbank, CA 91504. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
Dr. Mesropyan’s presentation will focus on Diana Agabeg Apcar’s (1859 – 1937) humanitarian work. Between 1915 and the late 1920s, about 1,500 — out of several hundreds of thousands — Armenian refugees managed to reach Japan where they found Apcar’s enormous support. Through her crucial assistance, they were able to immigrate to the U.S., as well as other destinations. The presentation will focus on how Apcar was able overcome various obstacles she faced in carrying out her humanitarian work.
Dr. Mesropyan will be joined by the great-granddaughter of Diana Apcar, Mimi Malayan. In 2018, Malayan released a documentary on the life of Diana Apcar entitled, “Stateless Diplomat,” which has won several awards including the Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award (Arpa International Film Festival, 2019), Best Biographical Film (New Hope Film Festival, July 2019), and Audience Choice for Best Documentary (Pomegranate Film Festival, November 2018).
Dr. Meline Mesropyan was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia and initially earned her bachelor’s degree in Japanese linguistics. She graduated from the Graduate School of International Culture at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan in March 2019. She has spent the last six years as a Master’s and Ph.D. student researching the life and work of Diana Apcar. Her Ph.D. dissertation, written in Japanese and making extensive use of Japanese archival data, deals with the Japanese government’s processing of Armenian refugees during World War I and Diana Apcar’s role. She lives in Sendai and is currently in the process of developing her Ph.D. dissertation into a book on the life of Diana Apcar.