Doug Levitt is a former CNN correspondent who switched careers to chase his dream of becoming an artist. He attended Cornell University and later he received a full ride scholarship to the London School of Economics. While Mr. Levitt was studying there, he earned his Master’s degree in International Relations. He went to work for CNN as a foreign correspondent but felt like something was missing, so he quit his job, boarded a Greyhound Bus, and began to chase his dream of becoming a musician, and The Greyhound Diaries was born.
The Greyhound Diaries
Mr. Levitt first got the initial idea for The Greyhound Diaries when he started chasing his music career. He boarded a Greyhound bus and saw all types of different people struggling to get by. He wanted to record their stories and struggles and began doing so under the name The Greyhound Diaries. It started with a six-week bus ride in 2004 and has been ongoing ever since. Doug Levitt was fascinated by this culture he found on the Greyhound buses, and he admits that the buses are seen as a last resort for most people as a form of transport. As of late 2016, Doug Levitt has racked up over 120,000 miles crisscrossing the United States for his project. He has seen parts of the United States most people don’t realize exists and has taken over 20,000 pictures documenting the everyday life of individuals struggling to survive.
A Therapeutic Ride
Doug Levitt stated that riding the Greyhound bus and opening up to strangers about his father’s suicide helped him heal. He claims that talking about your issues or problems help to resolve them, and there is no better place than a Greyhound bus because you see all kinds of people. A few of the people that he met stand out in his mind for making the biggest impact were an army veteran who carried the guilt of his friend not coming home, a grandmother who survived trauma only to turn to drugs before turning her life around again to become a counselor, and a Marine who suffered from panic attacks.Mr. Levitt offers an unflinching look into the world that is often forgotten by mainstream America. He will continue to make people think long after this project has wrapped up.
“Hack Them Back!” That was the slogan Thor Halvorssen had emblazoned on his T-shirt. But the President of the Human Rights Foundation, or HRF, does more than just wear t-shirts and yell his complaints with righteous rage. He actively helps those groups looking to cause trouble for the latest regime to enter his sights . . . the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a.k.a. North Korea.
The “Hack Them Back” shirt is in response to Kim Jung-Un’s government hacking into the Sony computer system in retaliation for the Seth Rogen movie The Interview, the plot of which revolves around an assassination attempt of Kim. Even before the North Korean hack, Halvorssen had been helping dissident hacking groups in the country for years, smuggling in USBs or assisting defector groups in hack-a-thons. In addition, HRF activists have launched balloons into North Korea carrying cash, movies, and anti-regime leaflets. Halvorssen’s goal is to raise a million dollars for defector groups to aid in their efforts to oppose the Kim regime.
The North Korean government is apparently taking Halvorssen’s activities seriously. When the HRF president visited Seoul, South Korea, he was informed that agents from the North were spying on his hotel. This prompted the South government to assign security to the hotel. In addition, several defectors Halvorssen knows or works with are on a hit list put together by Kim’s security apparatus.
So why has North Korea earned Halvorssen’s attention? The country has been under the authoritarian rule of the Kim family for more than 70 years. An estimated 200,000 people languish in labor camps. The citizenry is forced to regard Kim as a deity. DPRK agents have kidnapped foreigners. More than three million people were starved to death in a government-induced famine during the 1990s.
Thor Halvorssen is a Venezuelan who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum and served as the CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Along with giving lectures around the world, he is also a film producer.
More information for Thor Halvorssen: