Thor Halvorssen was born in Venezuela and is a descendant of Venezuela’s first President, Cristobal Mendoza. Halvorssen attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science and History. He also earned the honor of graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Since his graduation, he has become a well known Human Rights advocate and a film producer. His current position is as the President of the Human Rights Foundation. The foundation dedicates its time and resources to human rights and freedoms, especially in Latin America. He is also the founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum. The forum is an annual gathering to discuss and focus on human rights needs around the world.1)
As a teenager, Thor began his human rights advocacy in London by starting an opposition of the South African Apartheid. While attending the University of Pennsylvania, his father was imprisoned for investigating a cartel for crimes. He was a political prisoner in Venezuela. Thor led the campaign to get his father released. His father’s imprisonment became the catalyst for Halvorssen to dedicate himself full time to human rights advocacy.
Thor Halvorssen has been called a “Champion for the Underdog,” and continually works hard to ensure human rights and freedoms for all people around the world. He founded the Human Rights Foundation after his mother was shot while attending a peaceful protest against the Venezuelan recall referendum in 2004. The mission of the Human Rights Foundation is to bring people together with the common cause of defending human rights and promoting freedom around the world. Thor has also written two books about individual rights and the responsibility of the state.
In addition to his human rights advocacy, Halvorssen is a filmmaker who promotes films that advocate human rights and show struggles from around the globe. One of his film projects is the film “The Singing Revolution,” which is a film about Estonia’s peaceful struggle for independence from their Soviet occupiers. It received a 15-minute standing ovation at its premiere and has gone on to be the most successful documentary in Estonian box office history.