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Wingtip Talk with Thor Halvorssen

WIngtip is happy to host Thor Halvorssen, the Founder of the Human Rights Foundation, at the Club on Thursday, October 12th in the Wine Cave from 6PM - 8PM. In this session, Thor Halvorssen will take you on a brief tour of cutting edge work addressing the rise of authoritarian governments across the world. He'll draw from experiences at the Human Rights Foundation including rescuing activists, creating textbooks for democracy, freeing political prisoners, running hackathons for human rights, smuggling foreign media into North Korea using drones and balloons, shaming celebrities who perform for tyrants, working with global icons like Garry Kasparov and Ai Weiwei, and producing the Oslo Freedom Forum conference series. Tickets are a suggested minimum donation of $50. A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to the Human Rights Foundation. Please email Lauren to RSVP. Guests are welcomed. 


Thor Halvorssen is a human rights advocate and film producer. He began advocating for human rights as a teenager in 1989 in London by organizing opposition to South African apartheid. Described by the New York Times as a “champion of the underdog and the powerless,” he is president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF), an organization devoted to liberating political prisoners and to challenging dictatorships. He is founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum, an annual global gathering described by The Economist as a "human-rights equivalent of the Davos economic forum."

Halvorssen personally understands the importance of protecting human rights. In August of 1993, his father, a diplomat with the rank of ambassador, was falsely imprisoned, tortured, and savagely beaten in a Venezuelan jail. His father was released only after Amnesty International, the International Society for Human Rights, and numerous human rights advocates and public figures took his case. In August of 2004, Halvorssen’s mother, a child psychologist, was brutally gunned down and wounded by members of the Venezuelan government security apparatus while attending a peaceful public gathering. The gunmen’s actions were broadcast on live television as they shot into the crowd, leaving twelve wounded and one dead. And in February of 2014 Thor's first cousin, Leopoldo Lopez, a Venezuelan politician, became a political prisoner of the government of Nicolas Maduro. Lopez remains a hostage of the Venezuelan regime.

Thor has lectured at universities across the world on matters of liberty and his opinions and views have appeared in numerous venues including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, TIME, the Daily Telegraph, New York Post, and GQ, as well as television outlets such as Al-Jazeera, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, BBC, HBO, and many others.

Halvorssen founded the Moving Picture Institute in 2005 and produced several feature documentaries that focus on human freedom including the story of the 1956 Hungarian uprising told in Freedom's Fury (co-produced with Quentin Tarantino and Lucy Liu); the story of the impact of humor in the struggle against tyranny, Hammer & Tickle (2006 winner of the Zurich Film Festival); the harrowing tale of modern day slavery in the sugar cane fields of the Caribbean in The Sugar Babies; the story of Estonia’s liberation in The Singing Revolution; and the hard-hitting expose of the assault on freedom of speech on American college campuses in Indoctrinate U.

Halvorssen graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with concurrent undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science and History. He lives in New York and Los Angeles.

Earlier Event: October 11
Wellness Wednesday with EQUINOX
Later Event: October 13
Live Music Friday - Sam Johnson