Thor Halvorssen was born Thor Leonardo Halvorssen Mendoza on March 9, 1976 in Venezuela. Thor Halvorssen is a human rights advocate and film producer and is the founder of Oslo Freedom Forum. Halvorssen is the president of an organization called the Human Rights Foundation, dedicated to the preservation of global human rights and freedom. Thor Halvorssen is the founder of the Moving Picture Institute and is also a patron of On Own Feet, a Czech based Children’s Peace Movement.16)
Thor Halvorssen is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude with undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science and History. Thor Leonardo Halvorseen Mendoza comes from a very prominent and affluent family. His mother Hilda Mendoza is a descendent of Cristobal Mendoza, Venezuela’s first president. His father Thor Halvorssen Hellum served in the administration of Carlos Andres Perez as a Venezuelan Ambassador for anti-Narcotic Affairs and as Special overseas investigator for a Venezuelan Senate Commission.
He is the grandson of the Norwegian king’s consul, Oystein Halvorssen on his father’s side, the Venezuelan representative for corporations including Dunlap, Ericsson, and Alfa Laval. Thor Halvorssen is a strong advocate for the upholding of civil rights. He focuses on matters regarding human trafficking, slavery, dictatorships and threats to democracy. He has spoken out against injustices on several occasions, expressing his views regarding these issues in a multitude of forums.
He has given lectures regarding human rights at The United Nations Associations in New York, Harvard Law School, The British Parliament, and the New York City Junto. In 1999 Halvorssen headed the creation of an anti-slave labor law on the floor of Lucent Technologies requiring that China certify that slave labor was not used to produce their products. He also in the same year became the first executive director and chief executive officer of a civil liberties organization called (FIRE), Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
In 2004 Thor Halvorssen stepped down as head of FIRE. He created (HRF) The Human Rights Foundation which was incorporated in 2005, later opening its headquarters in New York City August 2006. In 2009 Halvorssen founded an organization where a global gathering of human rights advocates could congregate. This Organization is called, Oslo Freedom Forum and they have continued to meet annually since its inception.