Venezuelan-born activist Thor Halvorssen has devoted much of his life to championing the causes of freedom and human rights. Halvorssen’s inspiration came from his parents, whom stood up to tyranny through most of his childhood.
In 2005, Halvorssen founded and serves as the current Chief Executive Officer for the Human Rights Foundation, a New York City-based organization. During the Foundation’s 12 years in existence, it has advocated for the release of political prisoners, challenged oppressive governments that foster hatred and intolerance amongst minorities and challenged celebrities and political leaders who have associated with or profited from relationships with dictators and other human rights violators.
The success of the Human Rights Foundation motivated Halvorssen, in 2009, to establish the Oslo Freedom Foundation, which offers a forum for human rights defenders to share ideas and formulate new and innovative human rights advocacy campaigns. Also in 2009, Halvorssen became Patron of the Children’s Peace Movement. This organization fosters relationships between young people in western nations and those hailing from war torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Halvorssen’s work has made him a leading authority on human rights issues. He has authored articles for such notable publications as Time Magazine, The Atlantic and The Huffington Post. In addition, Halvorssen has appeared on major television news programs in the United States and across the world.
Halvorssen has also successfully branched into the film industry. Works he has produced have featured prominent actors and examined topics like the Soviet dictatorship and the political biases seen at American universities. However, the work which garnered Halvorssen the most critical acclaim and public scrutiny was “The Sugar Babies,” which studies the issue of human trafficking.