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

In Action

McCain Institute: Join Us -- In The Arena
The Sedona Forum 2018 Humanitarian Focus with Cindy McCain and Ashton Kutcher
Next Generation Leaders Impact Video
Ambassador Kurt Volker Discusses John McCain’s Global Legacy


Fourth annual Tbilisi International Conference features top leaders from Europe and the United States

McCain Institute and Georgia’s Economic Policy Research Center co-host consequential summit – “World in 2018: Upside Down?” (Washington, September 10, 2018) – On September 11-12, 2018, the McCain Institute for…

Cindy McCain: To Honor John McCain, Fight For a Greater Cause

Last week, our country came together to honor a great man, and a great calling. The man was my husband, Sen. John McCain. The calling is serving a cause greater…

Institute Extends Core Leadership Development Mission

Senator John McCain defined “The West” as “a world order based not on blood-and-soil nationalism, or spheres of influence, or conquest of the weak by the strong, but rather on…


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

Robert Kennedy on being #InTheArena to collectively uphold justice and the rule of law. ... See MoreSee Less

19 Sep 2018

Cindy McCain and Director Gil Orrantia led public discussion with Arizona's Human Trafficking Council to strategize how to best tackle the issue of human trafficking for the next year. #EndTrafficking ... See MoreSee Less

17 Sep 2018

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We stepped #InTheArena with @sethmoulton to discuss how military service influenced his leadership style, his foreign policy views, and his plan to bring 'regular order' back to Congress.

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[email protected]_ted of @BrookingsInst: "China is winning some important battles that will determine the meaning of sovereignty and human rights in the 21st century." https://t.co/2KtRV4WzWi

[email protected] accepting the @AtlanticCouncil's Global Citizens Award on behalf of her late husband: "His patriotism was in its essence a kinship of ideals that embraced solidarity with all humanity.” https://t.co/2bC87WoE9k