Born on March 9, 1976, Thor Leonardo Halvorssen Mendoza, popularly known as Thor Halvorssen, is a Venezuelan film producer and human rights activist who has contributed immensely to public interest advocacy, public policy, civil liberties, and political democracy.
Thor Halvorssen was schooled at the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated magnum cum laude with undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science and History. These degrees were obtained concurrently.
His enthusiasm stems from a deeper and personal experience. During his first year of study at the University of Pennsylvania, his father was arrested on trumped-up charges due to his involvement in the investigation the notorious narcotics gang, the Medellin Cartel. He was beaten and tortured almost to the point of death. Seeing this, Thor Halvorssen put up a spirited campaign to force the release of his father. As a result, he got help from an NGO, Transparency International. His father was found innocent and released. After his release, Thor’s father was appointed a director of a Pan-American United Nations Committee in charge of human rights.
His mother was also shot and wounded by Venezuelan Security officials while attending a peaceful demonstration of the Venezuelan recall referendum in 2004.
To demonstrate his human rights activism, Thor Halvorssen is a council member at the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that has tasked itself with the responsibility of protecting and promoting human rights in the world. All the members of this council serve on a pro bono basis for the greater good. The Human Rights Foundation runs activities like human rights advocacy campaigns, exposing dictatorships, conferences on human rights, and promoting studying in the areas of law and democracy through their Center for law and democracy.
Before joining HRF, Thor Halvorssen worked at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) as an executive director and CEO. FIRE was a civil liberties movement in the USA. Other human rights movements he has been involved with include; Oslo Freedom Forum and Children’s Peace Movement.
Mr. Thor has also given lectures on human rights at Harvard School of Law, the British Parliament, American Enterprise Institute and the United Nations Associations in New York.
Thor is also involved in film production. He has co-produced a movie, Freedom’s Fury whose plot follows the uprising against misrule in Hungary in 1956. Other films under his name include Hammer & Tickle, the Singing Revolution just but to mention a few.