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


Happy New Year, Mavericks!

On January 1, we normally make a New Year's resolution around our own self-improvement. And, if you are like most of us, by January 10, your resolution has been blown!…

Get Your #MavericksNeeded Holiday Guide

NUMBER TEN:  Two words: air time. No one likes a boor who dominates the conversation. We know you’re passionate, and we love that about you, but make sure to listen…

McCain Institute’s Combatting Human Trafficking Program Hosts Prevention Education Roundtable Discussion and Working Group

The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University and ECPAT-USA welcomed 22 federal agencies, state agencies and national nonprofit representatives for a first-of-its-kind discussion on national priorities, actions…


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

In the spirit of Maverickhood, click to see how our mission keeps expanding. #MavericksNeeded https://t.co/MLHPtwbMGy

Parents play a critical role in protecting children & youth from the devastating effects of human trafficking. Anybody can be a victim of human trafficking, but with the right tools, open conversation, & facts, parents can help recognize and prevent this heinous crime. #HTAM2019

Check out Institute Counterterrorism Program Senior Director @NicholasRasmu15’s discussion with @cleveleads about leadership in chaotic times and insight for future leaders: https://t.co/GthWP7jG7T