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

A Call for Mavericks
McCain Institute: Join Us -- In The Arena
Sedona Forum: “The Crisis in Venezuela”
Next Generation Leaders Impact Video


“Hong Kong: exposing the authoritarian narrative”

By Kurt Volker, Former US Ambassador To NATO; Executive Director McCain Institute for International Leadership Authoritarian regimes spend enormous amounts of effort trying to control the flow of information. They…

Institute’s Train The Trainer Program Showing Results

Next Generation Leader 2017 Cohort member Edlira Gjoni held her first Train the Trainer graduation in her native Albania. Twenty-two emerging Albanian leaders looking to tackle issues such as improving…

2019 Next Generation Leaders Arizona Module

In late April, the 2019 cohort of Next Generation Leaders convened in Arizona for the McCain Institute’s “Leading Change and Innovation” leadership module. Leveraging the Institute’s affiliation with Arizona State…

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.


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

Today’s NGL Spotlight features Modou Sowe, a farming advocate from The Gambia. To learn more about NGLs like Modou and our NGL program, please visit www.mccaininstitute.org/next-generation-leader-program/ #NGLCaptsone ... See MoreSee Less

16 Jul 2019

Today’s NGL Spotlight features Ukrainian public servant Kateryna Smagliy. To learn more about NGLs like Kateryna and our NGL program, please visit www.mccaininstitute.org/next-generation-leader-program/ #NGLCapstone ... See MoreSee Less

15 Jul 2019

Load more

I was honored to be able to speak at the @McCainInstitute Next Generation Leaders Program graduation. I was the least qualified person in the room, speaking to an audience of daring and driven professionals in their chosen fields. Best of luck to them all.

The McCain Institute is proud to sponsor the 2019 @WIFLE Annual Leadership Training. Congratulations to the well-deserving agents and prosecutors who received awards for their outstanding efforts to combat #humantrafficking!