Before the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) became the internationally recognized conference for democracy and human rights it’s now known for, it began as a group of roughly 200 individuals who gathered in the Norwegian capital in 2009 to celebrate the survivors of Communism and Nazism.
It was meant to be a little get-together to capture, in a high-quality video production, these heroes in the flesh — those that were still with us, at least. It was meant to preserve their stories, to record their struggles for the next generation in the hope the world wouldn’t forget. History, unfortunately, has a tendency of repeating itself.
But then the first session proved wildly successful and OFF evolved into what The Economist described as the “Davos for human rights,” where, as The New York Times put it, “the world’s dissidents have their say.”
More than 300 of them (and counting), in fact, from more than 100 countries. Each year, OFF amplifies the voices of courageous dissidents and exposes the threats to liberal democracy and the day’s most pressing human rights issues.
For many reasons, Oslo is the perfect home for authoritarians’ agitators: Norway has been fundamental in negotiating peace agreements around the globe and is the place where, at its historic City Hall, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded. It’s a country that puts a high value on peaceful democracy.
The Forum has taken its message to other shores, too, from Mexico City to Johannesburg to New York City to Taipei to San Francisco. OFF has also expanded beyond the conference halls. Through interactive workshops, creative exhibits, and unique networking opportunities, these activists have met and formed lasting partnerships with philanthropists, business leaders, journalists, artists, and academics who wish to support their cause.
The Oslo Freedom Forum is much more than a conference. It is a display of humanity, solidarity, and hope for the future.
We invite you to join us.