Descendant of Venezuela’s first president, Thor Halvorssen hails from a family of prominent political leaders and advocates.Thor Halvorssen is the president of the Human Rights Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally and promotes the defense of human rights and promoting liberal democracy around the world.
Halvorssen’s thoughts on international policy and affairs have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, The New York Times, TIME Magazine, The Nation, and the National Journal.
Among other things, Halvorssen specializes in dictatorships, human trafficking, democracy, and modern day slavery. He is also a lecturer and has spoken at Harvard University and the UK Parliament.
Most recently of Halvorssen’s endeavours include the Oslo Freedom Forum. Founded in 2009, the Oslo Freedom Forum is global gathering of human rights advocates which takes place in Oslo annually . Wired Magazine stated that “if the global human-rights movement were to create its own unified representative body, it would look something like this.”
In 1993 while studying at the University of Pennsylvania, his father was falsely charged and detained where he was tortured for 74 days. He began a campaign to release his father, which gained the momentum it needed with the backing of Amnesty International. In 2004 government security forces wounded his mother while exercising her right to peacefully assemble and protest.
These events have all had a profound effect on Halvorssen’s philosophy. Halvorssen is not a detached and wealthy philanthropist but an individual genuinely dedicated to the very human nature of his field. Upholding democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental human rights guaranteed by international law are at the heart of his work and his day-to-day life.
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