Thor Leonardo Halvorssen Mendoza was born on March 9, 1976. He is commonly known as Thor Halvorssen, is now 41 years old, and is the president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF), which was launched in 2005. Thor Halvorssen was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. His father was Norwegian and his mother was Venezuelan.Halvorssen is a human rights advocate and a film producer. He has contributed in the fields of public policy, public interest advocacy, individual rights, civil liberties, and pro-democracy advocacy. New York Times described him as “a champion of the underdog and the powerless,” after he began to advocate for human rights. He grew up with turmoil around him and had no choice but to be involved in the promotion of due process and individual rights. His father became a political prisoner in Venezuela. His mother is descended from the first president of Venezuela. He founded HRF after his mother was shot during a political protest. Thor is the founder and CEO of the Oslo Freedom Forum. This is an annual global gathering of human rights festival. He is currently producing a film adaptation of “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” with Bryan Singer, who directed the Usual Suspects and the X-men movies. “I love people!” Thor says in an emphatic way. Those he loves most are dissidents and defectors, freedom’s troublemakers who blow spitballs at authoritarians while standing up against tyranny. Love is why Thor takes a beating and continues on ticking.
Thor Halvorssen is the perfect leader for human rights advocacy in the 21st century. The man is 39 years old and has been politically active his entire life. His activism gotta start when his father was put in jail in Venezuela as a political prisoner. Then a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, Thor Halvorssen helped Amnesty International and other human rights groups secure his father’s freedom.
His mother was shot in New York City for what she believed in. She was marching in protest of human rights abuses in South America when a security force opened fire on the crowd. It was Thor Halvorssen who broke the story in the Wall Street Journal.
The lifelong human rights activist also shot into the Zeitgeist with a confounding Fox News interview. Fox News, forever a right-wing propaganda channel, brought the human rights activist on air to talk about why socialism is inherently evil. Much to the chagrin of the interviewer, Thor Halvorssen expressed an incredibly nuanced political point of view. Socialism, he explained, is not inherently evil. In fact, he blew everybody away by saying that he donated the maximum amount to the presidential campaign of Democratic Socialist candidate Bernie Sanders.
It is his understanding of social media marketing that will really put him on the map. When pop star Nikki Minaj was offered $2 million for a private concert by the unilateral dictator of Angola, Thor Halvorssen took to the Internet. He penned an open letter to the female rapper urging her not to play the concert. Thor Halvorssen detailed all the human rights abuses perpetrated by the dictator of Angola. He also said that by taking $2 million from this dictator, Nikki Minaj was essentially stealing from the people of Angola. The dictator made all of his money by abusing his population and stealing his country’s natural resources for himself.
The pop star went on to play her concert, but anybody googling the incredibly popular singer was likely to come across this information. That simple act educated thousands if not millions of people across the world about international human rights violations.