Founding Executive Director
Diana Samarasan is the Founding Executive Director of the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, which empower Disabled Persons' Organizations to advance the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Global South, Middle East, and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union. Diana is the primary liaison to donors to the Fund and oversees grantmaking and strategic development. She is also responsible for promoting the organization’s mission among other grantmakers and donors in the human rights arena.
Diana has over fifteen years 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 mental disabilities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. 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 a Board member of the United States International Council on Disability and on the Steering Committee of the International Human Rights Funders' Group.
Photo: Diana Samarasan is pictured with young leaders from the disability movement in Uganda.