THRIVE is an AIWA-SF April project dedicated to highlighting Armenians who are doing amazing things in their personal and professional lives to better themselves and those around them. These individuals are inspiring, dynamic, innovative and interesting. Today, we feature Mimi Malayan.
Name: Mimi Malayan – Film Producer/Director/Writer
Mimi was born in San Francisco, but grew up around the world, as her father took jobs in Holland, France, Germany, Bangladesh and Brazil. This experience had a huge impact on her perspective, supporting a global view. It was only as Mimi matured that her interest in her Armenian heritage was sparked—the other end of the spectrum—which ultimately resulted in the production of her film, THE STATELESS DIPLOMAT, Diana Apcar’s Heroic Life.
After completing her B.A. in French Language and Literature at George Washington University, Mimi married and relocated to various eastern U.S. cities (Washington, D.C., Detroit, Atlantic City, Chicago, Atlanta) due to her husband’s work. When they divorced, Mimi returned to San Francisco, which she always considered home. It was a transnational time in her life, and the start of a new career.
Mimi studied Landscape Architecture at U.C. Berkeley, receiving her M.L.A. in 1989. She worked for several Bay Area firms, focusing on urban park, school and playground design. Although she continues teaching Landscape Architecture at the Academy of Art University, Mimi retired after working in the field for 20 years, primarily to focus on family issues.
While cleaning her uncle’s apartment after his death, Mimi found a box dedicated to Diana Apcar. Mimi knew that her great-grandmother was Honorary Consul to Japan during Armenia’s first Republic, but the true scope of her contribution to Armenia and its people had never been discussed in family settings. This was the start of a long journey of discovery into Diana’s accomplishments.
Mimi’s research has produced an extensive archive, including documents, articles, letters, photographs, and memoirs from Genocide survivors aided by Diana. With each new discovery, Mimi realized that her great-grandmother’s humanitarian deeds far exceeded her wildest imagination. In fact, the scope of Diana’s achievements as writer, activist, humanitarian, and diplomat, was unique in women’s world history.
Wanting to share this history with the largest possible audience and give Diana the recognition she deserved, Mimi decided that a film would be the most effective way to reveal Diana’s story. And so this sparked another career, the making of a documentary film.
THE STATELESS DIPLOMAT is the culmination of 7 years of trials and errors, of love and passion, of discovery and hard work. It is the story of a turbulent time and the struggles of one woman’s attempt to change the world. It is the story of a true hero.
To view the trailer, please use the following link: https://vimeo.com/user26379713
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Mimi, your film and work is absolutely inspirational. When I saw “The Stateless Diplomat”, I was enthralled and amazed at what Diana Apcar did. It would be unusual (unheard of?) to see a woman like her in this day and age. The fact this happened 100 years ago is almost unbelievable – but happen it did.
This is a film everyone should see, especially given what is happening in our country. Diana was selfless and giving beyond belief. You should be incredibly proud – both of what you have accomplished and that you can claim her as a relative.
Thank you for your kind words, Anahid. We are sure Mimi will be touched by it!