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’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…

McCain Institute Applauds Establishment of John S. McCain III Human Rights Commission

Today, on the 70th Anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) have introduced a resolution to establish the John S. McCain III…

The 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Time to Look Ahead

“In the real world, as lived and experienced by real people, the demand for human rights and dignity, the longing for liberty and justice and opportunity, the hatred of oppression…


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

McCain Institute added 4 new photos.
McCain Institute

Using the support of the McCain Institute's Catalyst Grant, 2016 NGL Man El-Abd works to implement her Leadership Action Plan of eradicating poverty in Egypt through jumpstarting small business endeavors. Here she is helping a widow build a booth to start her own micro enterprise and support her three children. ... See MoreSee Less

12 Dec 2018

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Ever wonder what it’s like to report on war, intelligence, national security? Check out the latest #InTheArena podcast with @CNN contributor and national security reporter @KimDozier: https://t.co/343Z64ULJ4

NEW: Check out the latest #InTheArena podcast with @CNN contributor and national security reporter @KimDozier. Kim discusses being a war reporter and and corresponding at the intersection of intelligence and national security. https://t.co/343Z64ULJ4

“I thought of [a career in counterterrorism] being on a vine like Tarzan and swinging from one vine to the next.” Listen how counterterrorism expert Nick Rasmussen navigated his career in the national security field. https://t.co/NptIuhhFhT