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


NATO’s Unfinished Business

By Kurt Volker, Former US Ambassador To NATO; Executive Director McCain Institute for International Leadership When NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke to a Joint Session of the US Congress…

McCain Institute Marks 70th Anniversary of NATO Alliance

WASHINGTON, DC—The McCain Institute was pleased to be a part of engagements for NATO’s 70th anniversary. On Tuesday, April 3, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Ambassador Tacan Ildem…

McCain Institute's Kristen Abrams Talks With ASU Now About Combatting Human Trafficking

Law enforcement organizations across the United States have recently arrested multiple people charged with various crimes that include organizing, operating or paying for services from human trafficking rings. To learn more about human…


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 Doris Kearns Goodwin. #InTheArena ... See MoreSee Less

24 Apr 2019

Happy Earth Day #InTheArena ... See MoreSee Less

22 Apr 2019

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Thanks to Minister Gergely Gulyás for welcoming @AtlanticCouncil & @kvolker of @McCainInstitute with Amb Cornstein @usembbudapest - to mark #NATOat70 + 20 years of Hungary’s membership

ICYMI: Earlier this year our Next Generation Leaders visited New York City to learn about municipal, community, business, political and international leadership in a highly complex metropolitan environment. Read more about their visit here: https://t.co/S5QfaROr0d

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