Join us from June 13-15, 2023 at the Oslo Konserthus to celebrate the 15th edition of the Oslo Freedom Forum. Become part of our global community and learn about the struggle for freedom directly from dissidents and human rights defenders on the frontlines.
We’re excited to announce the theme of this year’s Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF): Celebrating Solidarity.
This theme honors the unity, mentorship, and community that HRF and our global community — from frontline dissidents to journalists, philanthropists, and technologists — have fostered in the last 15 years. It recognizes that only together can we defeat tyranny.
2023 Havel Prize Laureates
The Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent, named in honor of the late Czech playwright, dissident, and former president, celebrates the power of art and creativity in the struggle for human rights. This year’s laureates exemplify the spirit of Václav Havel, using their talents and creativity to challenge oppressive systems and inspire change.
Performers & Artists
Complicity in Trafficking: How Corruption Drives Modern Slavery
Human trafficking thrives in authoritarian regimes where corruption and impunity are endemic, with traffickers and corrupt officials working together to facilitate these crimes. This panel will explore the connections between authoritarianism, corruption, and human trafficking.
Iran: The Final Revolution?
Mahsa Amini’s murder in 2022 sparked a women-led revolution in Iran. This panel will feature activists, policy experts, journalists, and lawyers, offering their perspectives on the revolution and calls to action.
How China’s AI is Powering Global Authoritarianism
For years, China has been developing artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and Internet censorship technology and exporting it to countries around the world. This panel will examine China’s far-reaching influence in the realm of AI.
The Global Hostage-Taking Crisis
Authoritarian regimes are increasingly taking hostages. We will hear from former hostages about their experiences and how the global community can address this issue.
A Dictator’s Playbook: Lessons on a Peaceful Resistance
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are leveraging their growing economic, political, and military influence over other authoritarian regimes to circumvent western pressure and establish an illiberal new world order. This panel will explore lessons the global community can learn from Ukraine, Taiwan, and Africa and what we can do to halt Putin and Xi.
Exposing the Kleptocrats: How to Counter the Corrupt Networks Propping Up Modern Dictators
Modern dictatorships span a broad range of ideologies, from far-right nationalists to brutal Communist regimes. But there’s one element they all have in common: corruption. How did corruption become the strand tying all of these dictators together, and what can be done to expose these kleptocrats and unwind their networks of illicit finance?
Rethinking ESG: Prioritizing Human Rights and Democracy in Corporate Ratings
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings are becoming increasingly important as investors demand both profitability for corporations and responsible operations for stakeholders. Can ESG ratings be standardized to become a more reliable barometer of companies’ commitments beyond profit-making? How can we make human rights and democracy a critical component of these ratings?
The Power of Performance: Fighting Authoritarianism with Music & Satire
This panel discussion will explore the role of music and satire in human rights activism, with panelists sharing examples of their work and discussing endured retaliations as well as triumphs and victories, and how the international community can support dissident artists.
Documenting Conflict Zones: Photojournalists vs. Influencers
Documenting conflict zones is not a new phenomenon, but the ethics of this are increasingly coming into focus. Photojournalists are on the frontlines documenting atrocities to inform the world of a dictator’s abuses, while dictators welcome influencers to paint a false picture of the country’s state.
Property Rights for Women in Africa
In almost half of nations worldwide, women do not have a right to own property — the leading form asset owned by the working class — and are at a dramatic economic disadvantage. Women will never experience the full benefits of citizenship in their nations or full independence from men, until they enjoy the same property rights as men. Women’s access to property rights in Africa is particularly low. This panel takes a closer look at current efforts relating to property rights in Burundi, where legislation granting women property rights was recently passed, and South Sudan, where efforts are underway to pass similar legislation.
Healing Broken Hearts
Activists in civil society routinely face PTSD and other mental health challenges. This panel provides an opportunity for OFF community members to share their experiences with one treatment modality. Please note this session will be conducted under Chatham House Rules.
Digital Security 101
Digital technologies are transforming the world, affording human rights defenders new platforms to advocate for freedom. But those realities also pose threats ranging from government surveillance and censorship of online platforms to intimidation by Internet trolls to hacking of personal data. In this workshop, digital security experts will discuss tools and strategies activists can use to protect themselves from authoritarian regimes.
Visibility in the Struggle Against Dictatorship
This workshop will facilitate discussions about how human rights advocates can be more effective in their messaging and share tips for expanding to global audiences.
Spyware Check with The Citizen Lab
Worried about Pegasus? Get your iPhone checked for signs of hacking. Citizen Lab researchers will also dispense advice and tactics tailored to the threats cell phone users face.
Building a Grassroots Alliance for Freedom
In this workshop, Venezuelan democracy advocate Leopoldo López will guide activists in organizing a cohesive global movement for freedom. Drawing on his experience as an opposition leader and former prisoner of conscience, Lopez will discuss shaping one’s activist narrative, effectively using new technology, and rekindling the global enthusiasm for freedom and democracy.
Mental Health for Activists
Activists and civil society leaders routinely face undue stress, PTSD, and other challenges to their mental health. This workshop will explore practical strategies for activists to maintain mental health in adverse conditions.
Iraq: 20 Years After Saddam Hussein
Twenty years have passed since the start of the Iraq War, which ended more than two decades of Saddam Hussein’s iron fist rule over Iraq. What would’ve Iraq’s fate been if he remained in power? This fireside chat will explore this question and feature Iraqi social entrepreneur, human rights activist, and founder of Ideas Beyond Borders, Faisal Al Mutar, and Iraqi political satirist, comedian, and host of AlBasheer Show, Ahmed Albasheer, having a conversation about the current state of Iraq. Despite years of war and violence, Iraq offers a glimmer of hope for the future. The pro-democracy protests that have taken place in recent years are a reflection of a new generation of Iraqis who are more informed, well-connected, and able to mobilize against government corruption and demand a democratic future for their country.
From Disinformation to Danger: Navigating Threats and Attacks in the Digital Realm
The online space is crucial for activists, journalists, and opposition leaders to expose human rights violations and gain support. However, authoritarian regimes can use online platforms as tools of repression, creating targeted disinformation and orchestrating violent threats. This fireside chat features activists targeted by both disinformation and threats of violence, and will discuss the importance of combating these campaigns and provide practical wisdom on dealing with attacks on social media.
Discussion with Luis Moreno Ocampo
Luis Moreno Ocampo served as the first prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In this discussion, he will present his new book, “War & Justice in the 21st Century,” and guide attendees on engaging with and bringing cases to the ICC effectively.
Free Speech Online in Africa and the Middle East
This panel will discuss the growing risk to human rights due to the increase in legislation restricting freedom of expression and other tactics of governments to shrink public discourse on social media platforms.
Escaping the Taliban: A Story of Gender Apartheid and Ethnic Persecution in Afghanistan.
Almost two years have passed since Afghanistan fell under the control of the Taliban, resulting in a systematic erosion of human rights and a disturbing gender apartheid. In this conversation, Soomaya Javadi, a member of the historically-persecuted ethnic and religious Hazara minority, shares her lived experiences to shed light on the harrowing realities of gender oppression and ethnic persecution in Afghanistan today.
Lighting Talks with HRF's Freedom Fellows
The Human Rights Foundation invites you to meet the 2022-2023 Freedom Fellows class in this three-minute Lightning Talks round. The Freedom Fellowship is one of HRF’s most innovative programs, where 10 dissidents from authoritarian regimes around the world receive hands-on mentorship from experts in nonviolent movement building. This year’s cohort includes fellows from Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, The Gambia, Kenya, and Tibet.
”At this gathering, no one cares whether the tyranny is red or black. All they care about is that tyranny be opposed and defeated, and that freedom prevail.Jay Nordlinger of National Review
You can find regular updates about the 2023 Oslo Freedom Forum on our Twitter and Instagram.
If you are interested in attending as a member of the media, please contact [email protected].
The Oslo Freedom Forum is a program of the Human Rights Foundation and is made possible in part thanks to the ongoing generous support of our sponsors. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the Oslo Freedom Forum, please contact [email protected] and learn more by clicking here.