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Nobel Laureates, World Leaders, Rights Defenders, Tech Entrepreneurs to Unite at 2011 Oslo Freedom Forum


Oslo, Norway (March 28, 2011)—This morning the Oslo Freedom Forum, an international conference founded to address today’s most challenging humanitarian issues, announced its 2011 speakers. The third annual event—set for May 9, 10, and 11—brings to Norway some of the world’s most remarkable individuals to inspire participants, raise international awareness, and shed light on the extraordinary work of innovators across the globe.

“A spectacular human rights festival,” according to The Economist, “on its way to becoming a human-rights equivalent of the Davos economic forum,” the Oslo Freedom Forum brings together a community capable of affecting change.

Speakers including former Mexican president Vicente Fox, Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, world-renowned economist Hernando de Soto, and Facebook angel investor Peter Thiel will join pioneers in the realms of academia, advocacy, business, media, politics, social entrepreneurship, and technology to collaborate on how best to make an impact on the world around them.

“This is the third Oslo Freedom Forum and I believe it has already become the single most important human rights gathering. Not just for the speakers but also because those traveling to Oslo include so many change agents with impressive track records,” said Garry Kasparov, the iconic Russian democracy advocate who attends the conference each year to share experiences and exchange ideas with this unique network of thinkers and doers.

Other speakers this year include former president of Colombia Belisario Betancur, Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Jody Williams, Ghanaian economist George Ayittey, North Korea expert and journalist Barbara Demick, Egyptian analyst Mona Eltahawy, American neuroscientist James Fallon, Harvard political theorist Steven Levitsky, Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul, and Chinese dissident Yang Jianli.

They will be joined on stage by human rights advocates from Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain, Morocco, Gaza, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia, Argentina, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Burma, India, and Kashmir.

Speakers will give presentations and participate in interactive panel discussions exploring such topics as the evolution of censorship, the promises and perils of foreign aid, and the dawn of a new Arab world.

The Oslo Freedom Forum is produced by the Human Rights Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit organization, and is made possible in part by the City of Oslo, the Thiel Foundation, Color Line, Fritt Ord, and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

Videos of past speakers—including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson, Nobel Laureates Lech Walesa and Elie Wiesel, Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez—can be found at

More information can be found at and on Facebook ( and Twitter (

General Contact:

Global media liaison: Pedro Pizano,

+1 212 246 8486,

Nordic media liaison: Erlend Fuglum,

+47 40 21 51 98,


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