Now Entering Russ's World
Some Human Rights activists talk a good game. Others live it. Any discerning observers would place Thor Havlorssen squarely in the second camp. A recent night found him standing in rural South Korea, not far from the country’s dangerous border with North Korea, where Havlorssen and his team prepared to launch hot-air balloons that would sweep across the border.
Once across the border, the hot-air balloons would release DVDs of Hollywood movies and other materials that the North Korean regime deems contraband.
Thor Halvorssen undertakes these actions in an attempt to eventually overthrow the North Korean regime and usher in freedom and democracy to its oppressed people. North Korea today is one of the most tyrannical, oppressive regimes in the world. It is run by the Kim family, who have been in control for over 70 years. The North Korean people live destitute lives, and most are completely unaware of anything happening in the outside world.
This strikes a core with Havlorssen. A native of Venezuela, he comes from a long line of human rights activists that have fought to improve the lives of others. His grandfather was a Norwegian diplomat who struggled against the Nazis in World War II.
He even once knocked down a Nazi official in a fist-fight, something the family is proud of to this day. Thor’s father has spent considerable time in a Venezuelan jail cell for revealing high-level corruption during his time as Venezuela’s drug czar. Thor’s mother, meanwhile, was shot as she protested authoritarian measures in Venezuela (she survived).
According to Crunchbase, crusading for human rights, in other words, runs in Thor Halvorssen’s veins. In fact, the cause runs so deep that he runs his own New York-based organization that promotes human rights around the world. The organization also stages a yearly forum in Oslo, Norway, called the Oslo Freedom Forum.
It’s been billed as a sort of Davos of the Humanitarian world. Many wealthy philanthropists and financiers, along with other powerful people, are invited to the forum. Human Rights campaigners deliver speeches at the forum in the hope that their words with stir those in attendance to support their respective causes.
Read more: Thor Halvorssen | LinkedIn