2013 Oslo Freedom Forum: Five Years of Challenging Power

OSLO, Norway (April 12, 2013)—The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) will hold the fifth annual Oslo Freedom Forum on May 13, 14, and 15. Hundreds of the world’s most influential dissidents, innovators, journalists, philanthropists, and policymakers will unite in the Norwegian capital for a three-day summit exploring how best to challenge authoritarianism and promote free and open societies.

This year’s forum is themed Challenging Power, a reflection of the growing OFF community that—by inspiring action and defending freedom—reveals the contributions that can be made when individuals confront arbitrary power. The exceptional speaker line-up for the 2013 conference includes Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, Peruvian Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, Malaysian lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan, Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, Tibetan Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay, Serbian non-violence strategist Srdja Popovic, hedge fund manager and anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder, Syria Deeply co-founder Lara Setrakian, and former U.S. State Department official Alec Ross.

“The biggest ‘human rights summits’ in the world are organized by dictatorial regimes and usually take place at the United Nations. The Oslo Freedom Forum is the antidote to this—a vital space for true human rights defenders to share their stories, exchange ideas, and meet those who can support their work," said HRF president Thor Halvorssen.

The event will center on a range of topics—the art of dissent, asymmetric activism, new tools for rights advocates, the power of media, women under Islamic law, and the threat of authoritarian capitalism. Areas of focus include: Angola, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Palestine, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, and Zimbabwe.

This year, the Oslo Freedom Forum will also hold break-out workshops for participants on best practices for information security, video advocacy, citizen journalism, and confidential communications. The conference will culminate on the evening of May 15, with the presentation of the second Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent. The Havel Laureates will be announced on May 1. The 2012 Havel Laureates were Aung San Suu Kyi, Manal al-Sharif, and Ai Weiwei.

Conference updates will be posted on Twitter at @OsloFF, Facebook, and Google+. Videos of past speakers—including Václav Havel, Shirin Ebadi, Wael Ghonim, Leymah Gbowee, Anwar Ibrahim, Yoani Sánchez, Peter Thiel, Garry Kasparov, and Elie Wiesel—can be found here.

The Oslo Freedom Forum is produced by HRF, a New York-based non-profit devoted to defending human rights globally and is made possible in part by the contributions of the Brin Wojcicki Foundation, the City of Oslo, Color Line AS, the Free Expression Foundation, the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Thiel Foundation.


For registration, media, or sponsorship inquiries, please contact Alex Gladstein at alex@oslofreedomforum.com.