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


McCain Institute Receives Award from London-Based C5 Capital for Work in Fighting Corruption

C5 Capital, a specialist venture capital firm, recognized the McCain Institute with the distinction of Most Impactful Program during its annual Shield in the Cloud global-corruption innovation challenge. Senator John…

The Christchurch Shooting: Domestic Terrorism Goes International

By Nicholas Rasmussen, Joshua A. Geltzer, and Mary B. McCord The United States has long built its approach to counterterrorism based on a fundamental distinction between “international terrorism” and “domestic…

The Facts About John McCain

John McCain’s Military Service • John McCain graduated 5th from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy, but was known as a fierce fighter, a loyal friend and…


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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WEDNESDAY 3/27: Are you interested in the current debate about free speech on college campuses? Join us on Wednesday, March 27, at the Navy Memorial Auditorium for the next edition of the Debate & Decisions series! Popcorn and beverages will be provided. https://t.co/FlrnCW3uGv

Want to get a behind the scenes look at our #InTheArena podcast? Check out the video of our interview with @ASU President Dr. @MichaelCrow: https://t.co/0HoapIaT4Y

Last week we were pleased to host a round-table with the @McCainInstitute to discuss 'Alternative Visions for the Future of Terrorism'.