Thor Halvorssen is one of those people who has figured out that people’s fascination with celebrity can and does help bring a call to people fighting for freedom. Halvorssen is the founder of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Human Rights Foundation, Oslo Freedom Forum, and the Moving Picture Institute. He is a descendant of Simon Bolivar, the man who helped get the Spanish out of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama. Halvorssen now brings the drive Bolivar used to get freedom in South America to as many people in the world as he can.
Halvorssen has made sure that dissidents have their voice heard. That sometimes means that he will counsel that it is good for dissidents to cultivate celebrities that helped them get free. He will also go after celebrities that accept money from dictators to perform. Such notable celebrities that he has used the shaming on has created firestorm of unwanted attention by the press, causing loss of fans and revenue. Understanding celebrity has allowed for him to make make a bigger impact because of social media than any money he might spend.
The first human rights group that Thor Halvorssen founded was the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE. The problems he saw was that there was an attempt at indoctrination at many universities. Halvorssen did not like that professors are constantly trying to get students to believe the same as the dictator that imprisoned his father and shot his mother. He then founded the Human Rights Foundation, or HRF. With a small staff, HRF not only monitors celebrities, but also dictators, no matter what side of the political spectrum they are on. That led him to start the Oslo Freedom Forum to bring dissidents a bigger stage to be heard. The bigger stage is the same one that the Nobel prizes are awarded.
Whether Thor Halvorssen is fighting to give all students the ability to think freely, dissidents freedom, or working on movies, he uses the same amount of endless energy. He is considered conservative by many, but he has proven the willingness to work with people all over the political spectrum. He does this so people are not imprisoned for political reasons like his father and cousin. He also does not want them shot like his mother.