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

A Call for Mavericks
McCain Institute: Join Us -- In The Arena
Sedona Forum: “The Crisis in Venezuela”
Next Generation Leaders Impact Video


2019 Next Generation Leaders Arizona Module

In late April, the 2019 cohort of Next Generation Leaders convened in Arizona for the McCain Institute’s “Leading Change and Innovation” leadership module. Leveraging the Institute’s affiliation with Arizona State…

McCain Institute Presents Preliminary Findings on Disinformation in Georgia

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 17, 2019) – Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership, Looking Glass, and Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) presented their preliminary findings of their pilot project…

European elections suggest US shouldn’t be complacent in 2020

The 2019 European Parliament elections were well defended against outside interference. AP Photo/Olivier Matthys Liisa Past, Arizona State University In many ways, the European Parliament elections in late May were…

Calling All Mavericks

America has lost its most well-known Maverick, and it’s a position we need to fill. Mavericks are essential to freedom. The McCain Institute has launched a new initiative, #MavericksNeeded, calling all Mavericks to stand up, to speak out, and to serve causes greater than themselves.

#MavericksNeeded is Phase 1 of a long-term nonpartisan initiative to educate and inspire Americans to reconnect with the United States’ bedrock legacy of standing up for human rights at home and around the world.


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.

Connect With
McCain Institute

As we acknowledge the plight of those harmfully displaced via #WorldRefugeeDay, our Sedona Forum panel on the global refugee crisis with @cindymccain, @Jacqfuller, and Sen. @ChrisCoons is worth another look. https://t.co/Ut3yLoHdCD

Today we join a global celebration. Show your solidarity on #WorldRefugeeDay.