Lawyers, Philanthropy

Thor Halvorssen is A True Face of Human Rights Activism

Thor Halvorssen is a 37-year old human rights advocate and film producer with interests in public policy, pro-democracy advocacy, public interest policy, as well as individual rights and civil liberties. He is the president of the Human Rights Foundation, a global human rights and freedom organization. He is also the founder of Oslo Freedom Forum, a rising annual gathering that The Economist described as a spectacular human-rights festival that is rising to the equivalence of the Davos economic.

Thor is also the founder of the Moving Picture Institute as well as the head of Czech-based Children’s Peace Movement and On Own Feet. In addition, he is the owner of the traditionally leftist Norwegian news magazine, NY Tid. Currently, Thor has collaborated with Bryan Singer to produce the film adaptation of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress of Robert Heinlein. Halvorssen shares his opinions on media channels like The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, and Time Magazine. He has also been featured on TV outlets like Al-Jazeera, Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, CNN, and HBO among others.

Thor’s deep involvement in human rights activism has been inspired by his roots. His mother, Hilda Mendoza is a relative of Cristobal Mendoza, Venezuelan first president. Thor’s father, Thor Halvorssen Hellum was a Venezuelan ambassador for anti-Narcotic Affairs and the special overseas investigator of the country’s Senate Commission. Thor is Norwegian king’s consul Oystein Halvorssen grandson and a cousin to Leopoldo Lopez. He studied Political Science and History at the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magma cum laude.

During his first year at the university, his father was arrested and tortured. Thor, with the help of International Amnesty, organized protests that saw his father released. Later, he was found to be innocent. In 2004, gunmen who belonged to the Venezuelan government security shot his mother during a peaceful protest. Thor fought for the rights of his wounded mother until the gunmen faced the law. Due to Halvorssen’s expertise in matters of human trafficking, dictatorships, threat to democracy and slavery, he has lectured widely on different platforms, including the New York Junto, Harvard University and American Enterprise Institute. He has also been involved with Lucent Technologies and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.


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