Diana Ayton-Shenker

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Diana Ayton-Shenker

CEO of Leonardo/ISAST (International Society of Arts, Science, Technology), Diana Ayton-Shenker, is an award-winning social entrepreneur who connects and convenes key partnerships, resources and capital for positive global impact. She serves as the Executive Director of Leonardo’s partnership with ASU, where she is Professor of Practice jointly appointed with the School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS), and the Herberger Institute of Design & Arts’ School for Arts, Media, & Engineering. Diana is also founding CEO of Global Momenta, philanthropic strategy and social innovation firm, and the Global Catalyst Senior Fellow at The New School, where she recently collaborated with XReality Center and her partner-husband, artist William T. Ayton, to produced New Babel, the largest A.R. (Augmented Reality) public art installation of its kind (Union Square, NYC). 

As Fast Forward Fund founder, Diana was honored by President Bill Clinton, and selected as Social Venture Network (SVN) Social Innovation Award Finalist. Named one of “25 Leading Women Changing the World” (Good Business New York), she was the Inaugural Nazarian Social Innovator in Residence (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania), Senior Fellow in Venture Philanthropy (Bard College), and was featured among 31 Inspiring Women in Nonprofit Management (UNC).


She held senior positions with Mercy Corps, Human Rights Watch, and P.E.N. (Poets, Essayists, Novelists), and taught at The New School, Bard College, the American University of Paris, and Hunter College of the C.U.N.Y., where she directed the first undergraduate program of Human Rights in the U.S. She has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Penn, and many international gatherings.

Her recent book,A New Global Agenda: Priorities, Practices, & Pathways of the International Community (2018, Rowman & Littlefield), follows acclaimed previous publications, A Global Agenda: Current Issues before the U.N. (2002 – 03; and 2001 – 02 editions), Tumbalalaika: a Collection of Poems (2007),and The Challenge of Universal Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, which has been translated into all six official U.N. languages and cited in over 100 books, articles, papers and policies worldwide. In addition to producing New Babel, she has collaborated with William T. Ayton, to develop international exhibitions, including: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Art (shown at the UN in Geneva & NYC; The Peace Palace, The Hague; The U.S. Senate Rotunda, DC; National Arts Center, Ottawa; and venues in San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, as well as in Spain, Poland, and the UK); The War Room (Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel; Chashama Gallery, NYC).