Thor Leonardo Halvorssen Mendoza, known to the world simply as Thor Halvorssen is a Venezuelan supporter of human rights. He is also a film producer with notable inputs in the fields of public policy, individual rights, public interests, and civil liberties. Referred by Times as the advocate of powerless and underdogs, he started promoting human rights from a young age in 1989 in London when he organized a bold opposition to South African apartheid.
Of Norwegian and Venezuelan descent, he didn’t become involved in full-time advocacy of human rights until his father became a political captive in Venezuela. However, he started taking his human rights work to the next level when founded Human Rights Foundation in New York. This happened only after his mother was shot in the midst of a political protest in 2004.
The Human Rights Foundation was built to release political prisoners in Latin America and also endorse democracy. Ever since its formation, HRF has successfully managed to release seven prisoners of conscience, published books on state responsibilities and importance of individual rights, proposed amicus briefs in high-profile international human rights cases, among others.
Not only did Halvorssen establish the HRF, he is also the founder and CEO of Oslo Freedom Forum, which is described as a magnificent human-rights festival by The Economist. Some people even call it the Davos Economic Forum in the making. Halvorssen has been actively involved in human rights and also supports On Own Feet, a Prague-based peace movement for children.
Halvorssen realized that in his work, the best way to be heard is through media channels. Thus, he became involved as a columnist for left-friendly Huffington Post. He also writes actively for Forbes Magazine. In May 2010, Halvorssen bought the popular leftist Norwegian news magazine, Ny Tid. He is currently working to produce a film based on Robert Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.”
His work has received several accolades including acknowledgment by The New York Times. His opinions have been published by notable media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, The New York Times, National Public Radio, among many more publications.