Thor Halvorssen comes from a family that thrives on leading and giving back, to their communities, to their country, and to many other parts of the world. This is exactly the motivation that led to Halvorssen founded the Human Rights Foundation (HRF). He lives near his Foundation in Venezuela. His family’s major league ancestor on one side of the tree was Cristóbal Mendoza, the country’s first President, from his Mother’s side.
It was from his Father’s side of his family that he is related to The Simón Bolívar, heroic liberator that fought against Spanish rule of Venezuela to success over 100 years ago. It is from this grounded and full family history that Thor has sprung into action in his own right, making his family quite proud. Recently, while on a trip to South Korea for a human rights conference he was presenting at, Thor Halvorssen talked about the need for true, free, socialist democracies that combine the best of basic human rights and government agencies that work well for the good of the people.
He is so passionate about this work, not just for the betterment of his native Venezuela, but also in other places in the world, such as North Korea, that during his time at the conference in the city of Seoul, South Korea, he was texting, emailing, and calling key people in locations in the West, which were in such a different time zone that it was very late at night there.
According to Time.com, Thor Halvorssen’s whole family has often paid the price for their activism, to the brutal dictatorship that is the modern Venezuelan government. His father, Øystein Halvorssen, was a highly-placed figure in the former government, advising the king on ways to help Norway preserve their merchant marine ships during the violent conflict of World War II. He became an ambassador, but was abducted and tortured by government goons in the 1990s. Only after intense negotiations and political arm-twisting were Thor and many others able to secure Øystein’s release.