No Photo

Thor Halvorssen



A human rights advocate and film producer, Thor Halvorssen founded the Human Rights Foundation in the spring of 2005. Halvorssen began advocating for human rights in 1989 in London by organizing opposition to South African apartheid. He is president of HRF, founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum, and patron of the Prague-based children’s peace movement, On Own Feet; the Centipede Children. Prior to his work at HRF, Halvorssen was cofounder and served as Executive Director and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education from 1999 until 2004. Halvorssen's opinions and views have appeared in numerous venues including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, The Economist, the Washington Post, NPR, TIME Magazine, the Daily Telegraph, New York Post, and GQ, as well as television outlets such as Al-Jazeera, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, BBC, HBO, and many others. He is a columnist for The Atlantic and The Huffington Post. Halvorssen has produced several films that focus on freedom and human rights. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with concurrent undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science and history. He sits on HRF's Board of Directors. Halvorssen personally understands the importance of protecting human rights. In August of 1993, his father, a diplomat with the rank of ambassador, was falsely imprisoned, tortured, and savagely beaten in a Venezuelan jail. His father was released only after Amnesty International, the International Society for Human Rights, and numerous human rights advocates and public figures took his case. In August of 2004, Halvorssen’s mother, a child psychologist, was brutally gunned down and wounded by members of the Venezuelan government security apparatus while attending a peaceful public gathering.