On a recent afternoon, Beatrice Fihn, the Swedish anti-nuclear activist, walked into a Tribeca café to address her next audience: sixty new mothers and about forty of their children, most under three years old. “It’s not so different than the U.N., you know,” she told the group. “Lots of crybabies.”
The thirty-five-year-old Fihn is the executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. Owing to its efforts, last July the United Nations adopted a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, by a vote of a hundred and twenty-two to one. (Sixty-nine nations did not vote.) In order for the treaty to take effect, fifty countries must ratify it. So far, seven have.
The day before the Tribeca talk, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, had told reporters that he was pretty sure Trump was going to withdraw from the Iran deal; a few hours after Fihn’s talk, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, met with South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, to discuss negotiating nuclear weapons away from North Korea. The world was paying attention.
“That’s the silver lining, I guess,” Fihn said, crossing one sling-back heel over the other. She is tall and has long blond hair. “With someone else in power, it would be easy not to think about a finger on the button. With Trump, it’s in the air.”
The event was sponsored by Mindr, an organization, founded by a disenchanted new mother, Sarah Lux-Lee, to provide new parents with opportunities to engage with the world beyond Mommy & Me classes. Lux-Lee, an Australian, graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree in public administration and six weeks later gave birth to her daughter, Ella, who is now almost two.