Diana is a Chief Researcher within the Impact and Research Development division at DCES . She is from Colombia but has spent several years in Africa and studied in various countries, gaining knowledge and experience from various disciplines and approaches. She is passionate about trans-disciplinary research and collaborations, community-based research and implementing action research initiatives that hold transformative power.
She holds an MA in social sciences from the Department of Peace and Conflict at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, a BA in finances, government and international relations from Universidad Externado in Colombia, was an exchange student at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Calgary, Canada and has attended various fellowships and short courses through organisations like APISA, CLACSO and the ISSC.
Before joining the HSRC Diana's work trajectory included working for the Colombian Government monitoring multi-stakeholder collaborative mechanisms to assist IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and populations at risk in conflict areas, and as a researcher for the Swedish NGO Diakonia, Regional Office for Southern Africa. At the HSRC Diana has managed and participated in projects dealing with urbanisation processes, transforming governance systems, social accountability methodologies, south-south comparative research, the challenges of socio-economic transformation and community based and participatory action research. She is an International Social Science Council (ISSC) World Social Science Fellow on sustainable urbanisation, and in 2014 was selected as part of the "100 Colombians around the world" initiative to portray her trajectory. She is an active citizen participating in various local development network and is a co-founder and board member of the urban NGO Open Streets Cape Town.
Some of her work includes; thematic leader of the citizen engagement governance work stream of National Treasury's Cities Support Programme; field work and participatory research coordinator of the international comparative project(South Africa - Brazil) funded by the Safer and Inclusive Cities programme; thematic coordinator for two inter-continental learning alliances (on Citizen Oversight and Human Rights) for the Evidence and Lessons from Latin America Programme- ELLA, and project coordinator of smaller projects looking at socio-economic transformation in South Africa through BEE, SMMEs and the Corporate Social Responsibility of South African companies in the region.
Her publication record includes the authoring and co-authoring of conference presentations, research articles and book chapters on the subjects outlined above. Similarly, she has directed the production of short videos and multi-media outputs for disseminating research material in non-academic audiences