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Venable partner Ron Jacobs recently attended the second annual Oslo Freedom Forum, where he met notable human rights leaders Lech Walesa (leader of the Polish Solidarity anti-communism movement and first President of Poland after the fall of the Iron Curtain), Mart Laar (a leader of Estonia's struggle for freedom and two-time prime minister), and Armando Valladares (author of Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro's Gulag detailing his 22 years in prison for opposing the Castro regime).

The Oslo Freedom Forum is the signature project of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), which is a longtime pro bono client of Venable. Mr. Jacobs attended the freedom forum as counsel to HRF and has assisted the organization since its 2005 inception by providing nonprofit corporate and tax assistance. Mr. Jacobs has served on the board of directors of HRF, which is chaired by former Czechoslovakian president Vaclav Havel, for two years. Venable's support of HRF is just another example of a prominent pro bono engagement that not only benefits the client, but is also good for the firm.

The Freedom Forum's key purposes are:

  • To establish a space for leaders and entrepreneurs from around the world to gather in an intimate community where they are given the opportunity and information necessary to make a direct impact on human rights advocacy,
  • To provide a setting for gripping talks from inspiring and energizing speakers,
  • To create an incubating network that encourages the cross- pollination of ideas that can help put an end to today's most serious human rights violations, and
  • To build a platform for extraordinary human rights defenders with limited previous exposure to gain increased visibility and effectiveness.
For more information about the Forum and the Human Rights Foundation, please visit www.oslofreedomforum.com and www.humanrightsfoundation.org.