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Beatrice  Fihn

Beatrice Fihn

Executive Director of the ICAN & Nobel Peace Prize Winner


Beatrice Fihn is Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She accepted the Nobel Peace Prize and delivered the Nobel Laureate lecture in Oslo on behalf of the campaign, along with Hiroshima bombing survivor, Setsuko Thurlow. Read More >

Ms. Fihn has over a decade of experience in disarmament diplomacy and civil society mobilization, through her work with ICAN, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. She has delivered keynote lectures on weapons law, humanitarian law, civil society engagement in diplomacy and multilateral institutions, as well as the gender perspective on disarmament work.

A coveted speaker on nuclear disarmament, international law, and activism around the world, Beatrice Fihn highlights the urgency for people and governments alike to focus on the humanitarian and catastrophic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and the imminent threat of nuclear war, exacerbated by heightened tensions and rhetoric between the United States and North Korea. Ms. Fihn calls on rationality over fear, convincingly making the case for the need of a complete ban on nuclear weapons. She has delivered critical speeches and presentations at high-level meetings of the United Nations, in parliaments around the world, at universities such as Harvard and Notre Dame, and at major global conferences such as World Economic Forum, Munich Security Conference, and at the Royal Institute of International Affairs’ Chatham House.

Far from speaking only about the technical and political, Ms. Fihn inspires others to follow the example set forth by her and her colleagues. They strive to bring “democracy to disarmament,” and she carries the message that every person has both a right and a responsibility to use their unique skills and passion to create change.

Ms. Fihn has led the campaign since 2013, and has worked to mobilize civil society throughout the development of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This includes developing and executing ICAN’s political strategy and fundraising efforts as well as representing the campaign in relation to media and key stakeholders such as governments, the United Nations and other international organizations. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Financial Times, The Atlantic, Le Monde and many others.

Beatrice Fihn holds a Masters in Law from the University of London and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Stockholm University. She was recently listed as one of the 50 innovators who changed the global landscape in 2017 by Bloomberg Media. Ms. Fihn is also Executive Producer of the film The Day the World Changed, the first-ever interactive virtual reality memorial experience to pay tribute to those effected directly by nuclear warfare spanning back to 1945. In April 2018, Beatrice Fihn will be presented with the Special Lifetime Achievement Award at the ninth annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Threat of Nuclear Weapons to Europe

We are Really Close to a Nuclear Disaster

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Speech

Speech Topics

Abolishing Nuclear Weapons & the Role of Youth

A millennial herself, Beatrice Fihn passionately calls young people to use three incredibly powerful weapons that are nearly impossible to stop once combined: hope, energy and social media. ICAN is a youth-led organization, an organization that since its inception 10 years ago has already garnered the world’s attention by achieving the unthinkable; an international treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons. Ms. Fihn credits much of ICAN’s success to their uniting seasoned anti-nuclear weapons campaigners with young activists by reminding them that these weapons are not a thing of the past. More than ever, she reminds young people, especially young women that their voices are needed to wrestle power from the old men who created these weapons and threaten us daily with death and destruction.

Faith vs Fury: The Moral, Legal & Rational Argument to End the Nuclear Threat for Good

In this very timely and urgent keynote, Beatrice Fihn makes the case that there is no good policy, no safe policy, for nuclear weapons other than their complete elimination. Global nuclear policy makes one major dangerous error: it assumes that all people involved in the nuclear decision-making process are rational actors; they are not. Recent headlines regarding the U.S. and North Korea’s inflammatory rhetoric highlight the imminent threat of nuclear war at the hands of irrational actors. A security based on the threat of mass murder is immoral. The nuclear-armed states and their allies vehemently avoid discussing the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, simply hoping that their use won’t happen. But just relying on luck is not an appropriate security strategy.

Nuclear Deterrence Is A Myth

In this powerful speech, Ms. Fihn compellingly argues against the logic of deterrence as means of maintaining international security. The world no longer accepts the argument that nations must maintain chemical and biological weapons reserves for deterrent or retaliatory purposes as we collectively understand that they are weapons of mass destruction, their purpose is indiscriminate mass murder and they are prohibited as such. Why are nuclear weapons held to a different standard? The crisis in North Korea has woken many people up to the fact we are living under the threat of imminent extinction at any moment, and it has also shown the failure of deterrence. These are quite simply weapons of mass murder that will cause death and destruction on a humanitarian scale never seen. If we keep nuclear weapons forever, they will be used. We must choose: the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us?