Thor Halvorssen knows the value of education. The now 40-year-old human rights activist has worked hard for an individual’s right to seek out the education that they deserve. In fact, the founder of the Human Rights Foundation was the first executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. It was a conservative-leaning educational activist group that fought for individual choice in education.
While the founder of the Human Rights Foundation fights for human rights around the world, he knows that education is key. In 1999, Thor Halvorssen led a group of individuals into the Lucent Technologies building in order to demand that the massive technologies company stops creating products with the help of slave labor in China. While he and his group succeeded, his actions didn’t make much news. He quickly realized that his efforts need a spotlight in order to be most effective.
As the Internet developed, Thor Halvorssen became much more effective at using viral content. In order to make is human rights advocacy most effective, he aims to take actions that many people will pay attention to. Take the movie The Interview, for instance.
The movie came under high scrutiny when the unilateral dictator of North Korea discovered that the film was about his own assassination. Kim Jong Un ordered his henchmen to hack the Sony Corporation. They were successful. Along with a hack, North Korea successfully called in multiple threats to movie theaters across the United States if the film was released commercially. This caused a great deal of conflict within the movie industry.
While so much attention was being paid to North Korea and its hostile actions against the movie industry, Thor Halvorssen took the opportunity to shine a light on the human rights violations of Kim Jong Un. His small but effective group of human rights activists began to float balloons into North Korea filled with cash and informational pamphlets. His efforts made the news because of the pop culture of events surrounding the unilateral dictator of the Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea. It is concrete action along with the world’s attention that makes for the most effective human rights advocacy.
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