Diana Samarasan

Senior Advisor and Founding Executive Director

Diana Samarasan is Senior Advisor to the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund. She led the organizations as the Founding Executive Director from 2008 to 2021. She also serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund as an ex-officio member.

In her previous role as Founding Executive Director, Diana was the primary liaison to donors to the Fund and oversaw grantmaking and strategic development. She has also been responsible for promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in the human rights and development funding arenas.

Diana has over two decades of experience in disability, international health, and human rights. Previously, Diana directed the Mental Disability Advocacy Center, a legal advocacy organization in Budapest, Hungary, which litigates abuses of rights of persons with disabilities in institutions. She also worked with the American Refugee Committee and Doctors of the World, addressing issues such as access of vulnerable populations to reproductive health services, tuberculosis control, and deinstitutionalization.

A graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Diana has advanced degrees in Public Administration and Psychology. Diana is previous Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the Human Rights Funder Network and a member of the Steering Committee of Opportunity Collaboration. A graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Diana has advanced degrees in Public Administration and Psychology.