Rejuvenated After Oslo Why the Annual Event Matters

By Amir Ahmad Nasr

June 7th, 2015

On May 14, my travel document – which I had been awaiting for months with bated breath – was finally issued, just in time for me to attend the annual Oslo Freedom Forum.

For the uninitiated, “The Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) is a thriving global community of rights defenders, dissidents, Nobel Laureates, tech visionaries, heads of state, journalists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, authors, artists, philanthropists, photographers, filmmakers, cartoonists, musicians, scholars, and students.”

Shortly after my return from the forum, I wrote a piece documenting my experience at what proved to be yet another fantastic gathering.

I invite you to read it here.

OFF and the community it attracts were nothing short of rejuvenating. The stories, shared annually from the stage, were once again inspiring, eye-opening, and proof, even to the cynical skeptic, that one person can indeed make a difference.

Let’s just say, when you’re in the same room with dissidents who make your ordeal feel like a picnic, you know you’re in the right place, among the right people.

Some of my favorite personal highlights include meeting one of my heroes, Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef, and presenting the Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent to the non-violent Sudanese resistance group Girifna.

Photo by Julia Reinhart

Learn more about the Oslo Freedom Forum here, and read “A Pilgrimage to the Oslo Freedom Forum” here.