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

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.

In Action

A Call for Mavericks
McCain Institute: Join Us -- In The Arena
The Sedona Forum 2018 Humanitarian Focus with Cindy McCain and Ashton Kutcher
Next Generation Leaders Impact Video


Nicholas Rasmussen: Defeating Hate, Addressing Violent Extremism and Terrorism Around the Globe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=ZbyPihLTbLc In the last decade, significant wins against ISIS and other extremist groups were made in an effort to reduce their power across the globe. With Raqqa’s liberation from ISIS’…

A Peek Inside The Sedona Forum: Panel Discussion on Global Refugee Crisis

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), we are witnessing the highest levels of human displacement in history: 68.5 million people around the world have been forced…

Chhaya Sharma Receives McCain Institute’s 2019 Award for Courage and Leadership

The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University is pleased to present the 2019 Award for Courage and Leadership to Chhaya Sharma, an officer of the Indian Police Service…


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.

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McCain Institute

Today's #WednesdayWisdom leadership quote of the week comes from Aristotle. #InTheArena ... See MoreSee Less

22 May 2019

McCain Institute shared a live video.
McCain Institute

Truckers Against Trafficking
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17 May 2019

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Today's #WednesdayWisdom leadership quote of the week comes from Aristotle. #InTheArena

Did you know we have a podcast? Check out our biweekly 20 minute episodes of #InTheArena, where we talk to character-driven leaders from around the world. Find us on YouTube, iTunes, Soundcloud, and the McCain Institute website. https://t.co/lqhvzr1ZVy

Human rights defenders continue to turn to Washington for moral clarity & support. Will they find it? https://t.co/6kkaZrggvx