In the past, the image of the average human rights activist was of an introverted individual working in a well meaning way to free political prisoners; Thor Halvorssen has changed the way the public views the human rights community by making it more open to the people of the world through a series of innovations. In 2005, Thor Halvorssen established the Human Rights Foundation, but will probably be remembered as the creator of the Oslo Freedom Forum series of annual events.
Activists, politicians, journalists, and celebrities now come together each year in Norway to learn about the latest issues facing the human rights community and people stranded in closed societies. Thor has worked consistently to bring the most important speakers and attendees to the event who he feels have something to say and can expand their contacts through their interactions at the Oslo Freedom Forum. Although the Oslo Freedom Forum was only founded by the Venezuelan born activist in 2009, it has quickly expanded to become the world’s leading conference for members of the human rights community.
The view and actions taken by Thor Halvorssen often differ from other activists who are not willing to make their voice heard in the wider world outside the human rights community; Halvorssen believes it is important to make sure every person in the world has the chance to explore the issue of human rights, no matter what their political beliefs may be. Halvorssen often looks to help those involved in the human rights community by linking them with celebrities and journalists who can assist them in making their voice heard to more people than ever before.
Over the course of his career Thor has also looked to make sure as many people as possible can read and hear about human rights issues facing the people of the world through his work with CNN, the BBC, and The Washington Post. By bringing news of the human rights issues facing people in closed societies across the planet Thor Halvorssen hopes to bring about change in the short term, and inspire future generations to get involved in the human rights challenges facing the people of the world.