ICAN appoints new Executive Director


The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is announcing today that following an extensive search, it has appointed Melissa Parke, a former United Nations legal expert and Australian government minister as its new Executive Director.

Ms Parke will take up the role on 1 September. She succeeds Beatrice Fihn, who stood down earlier this year.

Melissa Parke has a lifelong commitment to social justice and nuclear disarmament and has served as an ambassador for ICAN Australia, in which capacity she has championed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

As Executive Director she will focus on ensuring the campaign maintains momentum and more and more countries sign and ratify the TPNW, thereby continuing to strengthen this new norm in international law that delegitimises and stigmatises the most destructive and inhumane weapons ever created.

Melissa Parke said:

“I am honoured to be taking up this important role in the global campaign to rid the world of these weapons of mass destruction. The very existence of nuclear weapons, let alone their testing or use, is a moral injury to the planet. The only effective treatment for a nuclear holocaust is prevention."

The President of ICAN, Akira Kawasaki, who led the selection process said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce Melissa Parke as our new Executive Director. She has extensive diplomatic and political experience combined with impressive gravitas which, along with her keen sense of social justice and long-term commitment to nuclear disarmament, makes her ideally placed to lead ICAN’s advocacy for the universalisation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which is what the world needs as it faces the heightened risk nuclear weapons could be used in conflict for the first time since 1945.”

Melissa Parke is a former Australian Minister for International Development and served as member of parliament for the Labor Party from 2007 to 2016, in which capacity she argued for nuclear disarmament. Before becoming an MP, Ms Parke served as an international lawyer with the United Nations in Kosovo, Gaza, New York and Lebanon. More recently, she served as a member of the UN Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen.

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