Thor Halvorssen is a Venezuelan Human Rights advocate and film producer. He has contributed to the fields of public policy, civil liberties, and individual rights around the globe. He is the founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum, which is an annual conference that is focused on human rights around the world. He is currently the President of the Human Rights Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to human rights and freedom for all around the world. Thor Halvorssen has a degree from the University of Pennsylvania with both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science and History. He graduated with Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude honors.
Described as a “Champion for the Underdog,” Thor began advocating for human rights when he was just a teenager. He began his advocacy in London when he organized an opposition to the South African apartheid. His father becoming a political prisoner in Venezuela became the catalyst for Thor to devote himself to human rights advocacy full-time.
Halvorssen founded the Human Rights Foundation after his mother was shot in a political protest. His entire family is politically involved and champions for civil and human rights. The foundation is dedicated to freeing political prisoners and spread tolerance and democracy throughout Latin America. Thanks to the foundation, seven prisoners of conscience have been freed. They have also helped in many human and civil rights cases. Thor has written two books on individual rights and the responsibilities of the state regarding human rights.
To compliment his advocacy work, Halvorssen also is a filmmaker and producer. He makes films that can help relate stories about human rights around the world. One of his many films, “Freedom’s Fury,” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was co-produced by Hollywood heavyweights, Quentin Tarantino and Lucy Liu. The film tells the story of an uprising that occurred in Hungary against a dictatorship back in 1956.
Thor Halvorssen is the founder of the Human Rights Foundation. During his time with the Human Rights Foundation, Thor Halvorssen has been able to see many different political and governmental opinions that affect individual’s lives all over the world. Recently, Halvorssen has been looking at the rise of socialism in American politics. This rise is mainly linked to presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. Halvorssen, a documentary film producer, states that when political candidates use socialism as a mask this can be a very dangerous thing. Once they get into power, they can use this socialism to loot the country.
Halvorssen also states that there is a big difference between having socialist policies and a socialist government. You can live in a democratic country where there are socialist policies in place, yet you do not have to live in a socialist country. In some extreme academic communities, there are those that see socialism, communism, and marxism as the same things. Halvorssen states the problem with socialism in places like Venezuela is a massive shortage of goods due to the price fixing that socialist policies levy into place. This can create a humanitarian crisis.
While Halvorssen is not a huge fan of Bernie Sanders and his socialist policies, he has made the largest contribution possible to his campaign due to his great disliking of Hilary Clinton. He says that her social ties to dictatorship countries is a travesty. He is willing to support Sanders in the democratic party if that means Clinton will have a lesser chance of being elected in the primaries.
An article recently appeared on The Young, Black and Fabulous website theybf.com that detailed why rap superstar Nicki Minaj was asked to cancel a concert scheduled for Christmas Day in Angola. The article went on to explain that the rationale behind the request was not due to Minaj’s body of work but instead was due to the questionable ethics of sponsors of the event. Telecommunications company Unitel backed the concert and human rights activists believe that the company is ran by people with close ties to Angolan dictator President José Eduardo dos Santos.
The open letter penned by representatives the from Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Organization was posted on theybf.com site and sought to enlighten Nicki Minaj on why she should not participate in any event that has ties to the Angolan president. In short, the letter accuses President dos Santos of exploitation of the country’s diamond trade as well as egregious intimidation of anyone who objects to his questionable policies. The letter concluded by asking the star to cancel since because the payment for her performance was likely generated as a result of human rights violations. Despite the plea and warnings from protesters, Nicki Minaj did perform as scheduled.
Similar incidents are nothing new to human rights activist Thor Halvorssen who is the founder of The Human Rights Foundation. Since his youth, Thor has worked tirelessly to bring awareness to human rights violations and civil rights issues all over the globe. His main area of focus has been negotiating the release of political prisoners and the issue is close to his heart as his own father was once held as a political prisoner in Venezuela under the rule of then-President Carlos Andrés Pérez Rodriguez. The Human Rights Foundation has successfully coordinated the liberation of political prisoners and testified at hearings on behalf of victims.
In addition to his work with the Human Rights Foundation, Thor Halvorssen also founded the Oslo Freedom Forum, which was created to foster dialogue on human rights issues. He has selflessly fought for the freedom of others throughout the world and never loses sight of the bigger picture. Though he is a graduate the prestigious University of Pennsylvania, Thor Halvorssen is in no way confined to the bubble of typical American life. Instead he has spent the better part of his life doing as much as possible to help those who weren’t in a position to help themselves. Read more about Thor on TheAtlantic.com.