Teddy Roosevelt had it right:  “It is not the critic who counts…”

We’re about leaders and citizens of character – In The Arena– fighting to defend human rights, foster security and advance freedom.

Inspired by Senator John McCain and the McCain family legacy of public service, Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership champions character-driven leadership and civic engagement in the United States and abroad.

Our five core programs are all action-oriented and mutually supporting.

The Next Generation Leaders program prepares and networks emerging leaders from tough spots around the world.

International Rule of Law & Security steeps students in the law and policy of promoting fair and equitable justice systems, and assists in the development of legal systems that ensure fundamental rights and national security.

Combatting Human Trafficking educates stakeholders, trains authorities and fields long-term mechanisms to eradicate an unconscionable scourge.

Human Rights & Democracy convenes a uniquely effective working group of principals, gives voice and protection to a growing list of activists, and is mounting a national campaign to redefine how we talk and act.

And our Counterterrorism & National Security program has set out to increase U.S. capacity to challenge homegrown extremism, build an international community of young counterterrorism professionals and forge international partnerships.

Euromaidan “Revolution of Dignity” — Kiev, Ukraine, Dec. 2013

Cell phone footage captured by Senator John McCain

In Action

McCain Institute: Join Us -- In The Arena
The Sedona Forum 2018 Humanitarian Focus with Cindy McCain and Ashton Kutcher
Next Generation Leaders Impact Video
Ambassador Kurt Volker Discusses John McCain’s Global Legacy


Mrs. Cindy McCain announced as Institute’s new board chair

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 18, 2018) – Today the McCain Institute board of trustees elected Mrs. Cindy McCain as Chair of the Board. “Cindy McCain’s inspirational leadership already has helped us accomplish so…

Buffett-McCain Initiative Co-Hosts Law Enforcement and Prosecutor Training on Human Trafficking

In partnership with the Office of the Texas Attorney General, the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University provided a two-day training to law enforcement and prosecutors in…

UK Prime Minister Theresa May Receives McCain Institute’s “In The Arena” Award

UK's Theresa May receives McCain Institute’s “In The Arena” award Prime minister recognized for her character and global leadership in seeking to eradicate modern slavery   London, United Kingdom(October 9, 2018)…

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17 Oct 2018

Every Tuesday, we will introduce you to one of our inspiring Next Generation Leaders and learn more about their leadership style and what motivates them: bit.ly/NextGenLead #NGLs #TeamTuesday ... See MoreSee Less

16 Oct 2018

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What a show! 👏🏼✨🎙 Great interview w/ CEO @mctorrey @LukeKnittig @McCainInstitute & MG Mike Jones on @MetroHartford

Thank you to our DEFENDER sponsors, @dechertllp, @Debevoise, @JonesDay, @lathamwatkins, and @McCainInstitute for supporting this year's #OnMySideAwards!


Phoenix, Arizona – Rick Davis, Senator John McCain’s former presidential campaign manager and McCain Institute Trustee, read the following farewell statement from Senator McCain at a press conference at the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, on August 27th, 2018.