Diana Apcar, First Female Diplomat

Diana Apcar, First Female Diplomat

“Peace can only come out of righteousness, even as strife cometh out of unrighteousness; and we know where there is no unrighteousness there is also no strife.”

Who she was

Diana Apcar was appointed the honorary consul of the first Republic of Armenia to Japan. She is among the first, if not the first, female diplomats in modern history. 

Born in Burma (Myanmar) to descendants of Armenians from New Julfa, she attended school in India. Not long after, Apcar took to writing. She moved to Japan in 1890 with her husband and spent many of those first years in the country focused on her new family. But the massacre of Armenians in Adana in 1909 stirred her to action. Apcar spent a great part of the rest of her life advocating for attention to the plight of the Armenians, even setting up a shelter in Japan for escapees of the Armenian Genocide. She was honored for her efforts and, upon establishment of the first Armenian Republic, was appointed Armenia’s honorary consul to Japan. 

She wrote prolifically and her corpus includes books, poems and letters. Apcar used her expressive gift to write about the injustice that befell her kin living on a land she had never been to. In the process, she made history as a government official at a time when women in much of the developed world didn’t even have the right to vote. 

Interesting fact

In the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, Apcar became homeless when her home, along with many of her possessions, were destroyed.

Learn more about her

San Francisco Film Society