Oslo Freedom Forum Events

The Oslo Freedom Forum is an annual conference and global community of people dedicated to making the world a more peaceful, prosperous, and free place.

Oslo Freedom Forum

The Oslo Freedom Forum is a network of passionate advocates committed to the promotion of human rights across the globe.

From tech experts promoting free expression in Western countries to political dissidents living under totalitarian regimes in North Korea or Cuba, our members are dedicated to finding innovative ways to expand human freedom, from encouraging free expression to advancing rule of law. During the Forum, these industry leaders and rights defenders unite for compelling conversations and electrifying presentations that will change your perception of the world.

We believe that all people are entitled to live freely without fear of government oppression.

The Forum was founded on the idea that all human beings have a natural right to live free of political oppression. But that right doesn’t defend itself. The Oslo Freedom Forum provides a space for advocates to learn methods for amplifying dissent, using cutting edge technology to challenge tyrants and drive reform.

We provide a platform for revolutionary thinkers to share their ideas and speak truth to power.

We work to raise the voices of people living under oppressive regimes. At the Forum, these activists meet with luminaries from dozens of industries and more than a hundred countries in order to share ideas, tactics, and strategies for improving the lives of millions of people around the world.

Learn more about the Oslo Freedom Forum at oslofreedomforum.com.

College Freedom Forums

The College Freedom Forum (CFF) brings activists on the front lines of the struggle for human rights to college campuses in a one-day, interactive event to share real stories of how everyday people are promoting civil liberties inside closed societies.CFF speakers come from diverse backgrounds, including authors who have escaped North Korea, those who have successfully and nonviolently toppled dictators, and activists in the Middle East who use social media to get their message out. Each event features four to five short, visually-engaging talks followed by a question and answer session, with additional time for students to engage speakers in one-on-one conversations.
Tufts University (November 2013)University of Colorado at Boulder (March 2014)Yale University (March 2015)Stanford University (November 2015)Universidad Francisco Marroquín (March 2016 and February 2017)If you are interested in helping us host a CFF at your university or alma mater please contact jamie@hrf.org.

Local Freedom Forum

The San Francisco Freedom Forum

The San Francisco Freedom Forum (SFFF) is part of HRF’s efforts to create hubs across the world for individual rights campaigners to network with technologists, top media, and potential supporters.


The second San Francisco Freedom Forum brought together activists and dissidents with Bay Area leaders, business pioneers, artists, technologists, and journalists in downtown San Francisco for a day of talks, live art, networking, and an action-oriented Interactive Expo.At the event, themed “A Celebration of Noble Purpose,” participants heard powerful talks from individuals advancing human rights in Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Rwanda, North Korea, Ukraine, Russia, and Syria. Audience members were treated to a masterful performance by Tomáš Kubínek and live music from Leah Siegel and Dave Hodge of Leisure Cruise. Cuban graffiti artist and Havel Prize laureate El Sexto created a multimedia art piece onsite.Serbian nonviolence expert Srdja Popovic opened the Interactive Expo by sharing his own experiences and insights on how important tech can be for the struggle for human rights around the world. At the Expo, representatives from Benetech, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Twitter demonstrated encryption techniques, live video, and new apps keeping activists safe. Outernet, a company making satellite internet receivers for places under heavy censorship, met and started collaborations with activists in at-risk countries like Cuba, Syria, and North Korea. Five North Korean defectors were on hand to talk to conference participants about their efforts to send outside information into their homeland. They were able to meet with engineers and entrepreneurs to brainstorm new and safer ways to do their noble work.After the forum, Human Rights Foundation (HRF) hosted its 10 Year Celebration Dinner, which featured remarks from the first post-dictatorship president of Peru Alejandro Toledo and best-selling author and former Iranian prisoner of conscience Marina Nemat.The 2016 San Francisco Freedom Forum was sponsored by Humanity United and the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation. Support came from Badger Balm, Bridgewater Candles, Dear Leader, Harmless Harvest, HarperCollins, Headspace, Holland & Knight LLP, KIND, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Manhattan Portage, No Starch Press, Silent Pocket, USB Memory Direct, and the Yonsei Center for Human Liberty.


On September 28, 2012, HRF held the first satellite Freedom Forum conference at the Bently Reserve in downtown San Francisco. Themed “Many Paths, One Goal,” SFFF brought together a global community of innovators and activists to exchange ideas on how best to protect and promote individual rights.Speakers included Burmese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; Saudi women’s rights pioneer Manal al-Sharif; conflict psychologist Justine Hardy; Iranian author and former prisoner of conscience Marina Nemat; Slate editor and author William J. Dobson; drug policy reformer Ethan Nadelmann; Chinese scholar and pro-democracy advocate Yang Jianli; Ghanaian economist George Ayittey; Moroccan journalist Ahmed Benchemsi; and Kazakhstani theater director Bolat Atabayev.In her address, Daw Suu shared her experiences on the road to freedom in Burma, outlined a philosophy of nonviolence, and paid tribute to the late Czech leader and playwright Václav Havel. Long persecuted by the Burmese military junta, Daw Suu gave this speech as part of her first trip to the U.S. in more than 20 years. After her talk, HRF president and forum founder Thor Halvorssen presented her with the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent in recognition of her “creativity and decades of determination that kept pressure on Burma’s leaders.”

Oslo Scholars

HRF works to engage the next generation of human rights leaders through its Oslo Scholars Program. The program connects speakers from the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) with college and university students, mentoring them during a three-month summer project. Oslo Scholars are given all-access passes to attend OFF, allowing them to meet and interact with activists, experts, musicians, artists, and world leaders during the forum. The program is part of HRF’s larger mission to enable the world’s future leaders to learn more about, and become involved with, human rights at a younger age.The Oslo Scholars Program was established in 2010 to offer students with a demonstrated interest in human rights and international politics an opportunity to attend OFF and work with some of the world’s leading human rights defenders and activists. Past scholars have come from Tufts University, sponsored by the Institute for Global Leadership, McGill University, and the London School of Economics.Scholars have worked with OFF speakers from around the world, including: Kang Chol-hwan and the North Korean Strategy Center in South Korea; Srdja Popovic and CANVAS in Serbia; Ghanaian economist George Ayittey; Equatoguinean human rights lawyer Tutu Alicante; British psychotherapist Justine Hardy; Indian rights advocate Vincent Manoharan; Pakistani women’s rights activist Mukhtar Mai; and with Lobsang Sangay, head of the Tibetan government in exile.If you are interested in learning more about the Oslo Scholars Program, please send an email to info@oslofreedomforum.com.