Beatrice Fihn to step down as ICAN Executive Director


The International Steering Group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), has today shared the news that Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director, has decided to step down at the end of January 2023 after nine years in the role.

Under Ms Fihn’s leadership, the campaign was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and played a key role in the adoption and entry into force of the landmark UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). During this time, ICAN has nearly tripled in size, developed into a powerful and modern global movement for nuclear disarmament, and has brought in a whole new generation of activists and advocates into the field of nuclear disarmament.

“I have been enormously privileged to spend almost a decade building this powerful campaign. Throughout my time at ICAN, we have achieved incredible progress on getting the international community to develop a new international law prohibiting nuclear weapons,” said Ms Fihn. “With all the talent, commitment and strength in this movement right now, I am really confident to hand over the leadership to someone new, and I know that ICAN will succeed and achieve its goal.”

Since Ms Fihn was appointed as Executive Director in 2014, ICAN has grown rapidly in size and influence. During her leadership, the campaign grew to consist of more than 650 partner organisations in 110 countries, and got over 120 governments to negotiate and adopt the TPNW. Together with Hiroshima-survivor, Setsuko Thurlow, Beatrice Fihn accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 on behalf of ICAN and the campaign rapidly moved on to get states to ratify the treaty to bring it into force as a new, groundbreaking international law. The Treaty today has ninety one signatory states and sixty eight states parties.

The International Steering Group (ISG) will now carry out an open recruitment for a new executive director to build on the work of Ms. Fihn and drive ICAN’s work towards the full implementation of the TPNW and forging a strong norm against nuclear weapons. The President of ICAN, Akira Kawasaki, paid tribute to Ms Fihn: “Beatrice is stepping down with the campaign in a very strong place and poised for even more success. Her skilled leadership has been central to the progress we have made in seeing the TPNW negotiated, adopted and brought into force, as well as gaining new global attention to the need to eliminate nuclear weapons. We are grateful for her work to turn the coalition into a powerful campaign and look forward to continuing to work with her in a new capacity in the future.”

While stepping down from the daily work of the campaign, Ms. Fihn will continue to support ICAN and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Until a new Executive Director is appointed, campaign coordinator Daniel Högsta will take up the role as Interim Executive Director on an interim basis from 1 February.