The First female diplomat in the world, Armenian writer, author and activist.
Diana Abgar (Anahit Aghabekyan) became the first female ambassador in the world after being appointed as the Ambassador of the First Republic of Armenia to Japan and the Far East in July of 1920.
Born October 12, 1859, Diana Abgar was the youngest of seven children. She received an English-language education in the Kolkata Monastery for women. In addition to Armenian and English, she also spoke Farsi, Hindi, Japanese and Chinese.
In 1890, she married Mikayel Abgaryan, a merchant, and settled in Japan. Following her husband’s death in 1906, Diana Abgar, already a mother of three children, continued her husband’s business and managed both his wealth and trade deals through setting up business relations with people from the US, Europe, and China.
During World War I, Diana Abgar would read lectures on the Armenian people and would write for famous journals such as The Japan Gazette, The Times, Le Figaro and others.
Diana Abgar helped many Armenian refugees and would personally handle their documents during negotiations with Japanese authorities and consuls and thus make the refugees’ journey easier. She used her business as an office for a diplomatic mission for the sake of Armenian refugees, while her house was used as a temporary shelter. The status of an ambassador gave her an additional opportunity to speak on behalf of Armenian refugees and try to help them. Diana Abgar wrote 9 books on the Armenian Genocide. The Catholicos of All Armenians Gevorg V dedicated a special kontakion to her for her service to Armenians in dire times.
“Madame Diana Abgar was not rich living in a country where every source of livelihood is unavailable to foreigners. She was able to create a livelihood for herself and achieve prominent standing in society thanks to her knowledge of languages and intellectual skills. She is the Lady of the Far East, to whom everyone goes to for help.”
From the letter of Ejmiatsin delegate Ruben Ts. Master Manasyan to Gevorg V, Catholicos of All Armenians
The graphic images of the prominent Armenian women of the 20th century were created by
Mughdusian Art Center within the “Women in Politics” project which is implemented by the UNDP office in Armenia, in cooperation with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure and Infrastructure and the Oxygen Foundation, with the support of the UK Good Governance Fund.