Thor Halvorssen is a world-renowned human rights activist. A native of Venezuela, Halvorssen’s own family dealt with human rights abuses when his father was arrested and tortured for investigating the Medellín cartel. Young Thor, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania at the time, led the campaign for his father’s release.
Even after his father’s ordeal came to an end, Thor Halvorssen continued to advocate for human rights. He formed The Human Rights Foundation in New York in 2005. Halvorssen has a gift for reaching people from all walks of life. He has addressed Britain’s parliament, and he founded the Oslo Freedom Forum. In 2009, he took over as Patron for The Children’s Peace Movement. The previous patron was Vaclav Havel.
In recent years, Thor Halvorssen has also entered into the world of film production. Along with Hollywood heavyweight Bryan Singer, he is producing an adaptation of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Past projects have included The Singing Revolution and The Sugar Babies. Many of Halvorssen’s projects deal with themes related to human rights.
He is interested in resistance in all of its forms. This can be seen in his 2006 film Hammer & Tickle explored the ways people in the USSR used humor to cope and speak the truth. This film was awarded Best New Documentary Film at the Zurich Film Festival.
Thor Halvorssen is still remarkably young to have accomplished all of these feats. The world is waiting to see what he will do in the coming years. He has been fearless in addressing powerful, corrupt forces, and it will be interesting to see what he shines a light on next.