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There was no other U.S. statesman who advocated for Ukraine more than Senator John McCain. In 2014, as Russia began its takeover of Crimea Senator McCain said, “We are all Ukrainians,” as he urged America and the world to oppose Vladimir Putin’s theft of land from a sovereign Ukraine. Senator McCain believed a free and democratic Ukraine would be a bulwark against Putin’s authoritarian regime in Russia and something that emerging states around the world could aspire to. As a senator, he rallied with protesting Ukrainians in Kyiv and constantly pressed his colleagues in Washington to support the Ukrainian people against Russian aggression economically and militarily. With Ukraine currently under attack – again by Vladimir Putin and Russia – we are driven by Senator McCain’s want of freedom and democracy for Ukraine to support them in defense of their homeland. The Ukrainians are standing up for a cause greater than themselves – the cause of freedom, epitomizing what it means to defend democracy.

Vladimir Putin wants to restore the old Russian empire. He cannot stand a free, democratic, prosperous Ukraine, because sooner or later, the people of Russia would want to have that kind of lifestyle as well.

Ukraine: The Grassroots Defense of Democracy & Human Rights​

McCain Event

We and World Central Kitchen co-hosted an event at the U.S. Capitol with Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch and a bipartisan group of five other U.S. Senators, focused on the grassroots defense of democracy and human rights in Ukraine following another Russian invasion.

Speakers included Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.)Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.)Jim Risch (R-Idaho)Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova.

Following these remarks, a panel conversation was moderated by McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas and featured a dialogue with World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook, 2022 Ukrainian McCain Global Leader Dr. Mariia Levchenko, World Central Kitchen’s operations lead in Kyiv, Ukraine Kate Serdiuk, and First Secretary at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Kateryna Smagliy, who is also an alumna of the McCain Institute’s leadership programs.

Meet The People Helping Prosecute War Crimes in Ukraine

As the illegal invasion of Ukraine continues, atrocity crimes have been reportedly committed by the Russian forces. We hosted two virtual discussions featuring lawyers, reporters, prosecutors, and investigators making sure that the Ukrainians and the international community hold Russian individuals accountable for the atrocity crimes they have committed.

The event featured opening remarks from Ambassador Beth Van Schaack, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice (GCJ). The first virtual conversation was between McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas and the Lead Advisor for the EU-UK-US Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group Ambassador Clint Williamson.

The second panel was moderated by McCain Institute Human Rights and Democracy Program Manager Pedro Pizano and featured Truth Hounds Executive Director Roman Avramenko, EU-UK-US Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group Coordinator Andrea Cayley, Global Justice Advisors Founder Scott Martin, and Maidan Monitoring Information Center Chair Nataliya Zubar

Evelyn Farkas Discusses Ukrainian Gains on Meet The Press Now

Evelyn Farkas Talks About Vladimir Putin Not Attending Queen Elizabeth II's Funeral

Evelyn Farkas and Andrea Mitchell Discuss Latest with Brittney Griner on MSNBC


The Sedona Forum

The McCain Institute convened its 10th annual Sedona Forum on May 5-6, 2023, featuring lawmakers, journalists, military leaders, business executives, and more. The 2023 Sedona Forum theme, “Indispensable Power,” examined the diplomatic, military, and economic means employed to protect democracy, human rights, and the global competitive edge.

CBS News served as a broadcast media partner, and POLITICO served as a digital media partner.

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Keynote Highlights

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Prevention Practitioners’ Network

In partnership with the Anti-Defamation League and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, we are building a national network of interdisciplinary professionals dedicated to addressing targeted violence and terrorism, and its impacts, within the United States. This network is both increasing the efficacy of local prevention frameworks and programs and expanding referrals to qualified programs throughout the country.

A National Policy Blueprint to End White Supremacist Violence

In a joint effort with the Center for American Progress, we conducted interviews, round table discussions, surveys and research to inform a comprehensive national policy blueprint, designed to serve as a starting point for a whole-of-government response. This blueprint focuses areas of broad consensus, providing dozens of recommendations that Congress, the Biden Administration, and partners at the state and local level can pursue to counter white supremacist violence.


Expanding on the Peer-to-Peer initiative, we partnered with EdVenture Partners and Credence Management Solutions to challenge university students to develop their own dynamic products, tools, or initiatives to prevent targeted violence and terrorism. University teams compete for cash awards, education scholarships, and optional entry into a one-year sustainment program.

The Democracy

There has never been a more important time to advocate for democracy, in the United States and around the world. Our program continues to bring democracy and human rights to the forefront of conversations in Washington, D.C., and protect activists around the world.

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McCain Institute Executive Director Evelyn Farkas (left), U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) (center) and U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) (right) speak to the Task Force on Defeating Disinformation Attacks on U.S. Democracy at the McCain Institute.

Task Force on Defeating Disinformation Attacks on U.S. Democracy

For decades we assumed technology facilitated democracy – advancing freedom, transparency, and liberty. Yet, over time, technology also became a tool to undermine democracy. Technology has facilitated the spread of disinformation. Today, disinformation and its relatives — mis- and mal-information — are wreaking havoc on American democracy. To stem the tide of such attacks against American democracy, Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the McCain Institute has begun a series of convenings of experts on disinformation, members of the media, civil society, corporate leaders, and policymakers to discuss the problem and produce concrete and actionable recommendations. 

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) provided opening remarks to the group during their first convening in December 2022. “Democracy was one of so many causes that John McCain fought for as a service member, Congressman, and a U.S. Senator. It’s on us to pick up the torch of his leadership and continue protecting our democracy against threats such as political violence and disinformation,” said Senator Klobuchar 

This nonpartisan task force will continue to convene throughout the year to meet with experts, policymakers, and Americans who are working on the frontlines guarding our democracy from internal and external threats. The task force will publish its findings and recommendations. 

The task force is made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation and Microsoft.

Ukraine Business Alliance

The Ukraine Business Alliance convenes executives from American technology and defense companies (including Palantir Technologies, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services), senior U.S. and Ukrainian government and military leaders, and foreign policy experts to strategize innovative public-private partnerships to support Ukraine. 

The Business Alliance’s first meeting focused on supporting the investigators and prosecutors in Ukraine with the best tools available and hosted the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, General Andriy Kostin. The Ukraine Business Alliance will meet regularly throughout the year to encourage cross-collaboration to advance the goal of supporting Ukraine’s war effort and reconstruction. Periodic fact-finding missions to Ukraine and other frontline states will be organized to gauge how the business community can further support Ukraine. 

McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas, Ambassador Beth Van Schaack, Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin and International Government Lead at Palantir Noam Perski.

2023 Summit for Democracy: Declaration of Democratic Principles

March 27, 2023, more than 80 leading democracy and human rights-focused organizations from around the world released “A Civil Society Declaration of Democratic Principles” in advance of the second Summit for Democracy beginning this week in the United States, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, South Korea, and Zambia. Coordinated by Freedom House, The George W. Bush Institute, and the McCain Institute at Arizona State University, the Declaration contains 14 key principles and associated actions that are integral to the success of all democracies and calls on all governments to act – at home and abroad – to advance each principle. 

The Declaration and the full list of signatories can be found on the McCain Institute’s website.  

The McCain Institute’s Democracy Program also created a video (shown above) to accompany the Declaration, featured in the official S4D program. 

McCain Institute: Arizona Youth Survey, November 2022

Youth Arizona Poll

Uniquely positioned to champion the voices of the next generation of Arizonans, the McCain Institute collaborated with SocialSphere, Inc., to develop a benchmark survey aimed at providing fresh insight and perspective into the attitudes, opinions, and interests of young 18-29-year-old-Arizonans as they pertain to democracy, politics, and civic engagement. 

More specifically, the study sought to understand young Arizonans’ views toward: 

  • The most recent midterm elections 
  • The most important issues related to the future of Arizona 
  • Barriers to civic engagement and voting 
  • The degree to which state and federal official understand their values and vision 

This survey of 1,502 18-29-year-old Arizona residents was conducted online between November 22 and November 30, 2022. Data from the U.S. Census Current Population Survey and the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office were used to weight the survey respondents based on gender, age, race and ethnicity, region of the state, educational attainment, voter registration and non-coverage factors associated with online surveys. The survey carries a credibility interval of +/-2.5%. An interactive display of data is available

Advocacy for the arbitrarily, unlawfully, and illegally detained Vladimir Kara-Murza

In recognition of the one-year anniversary of the arbitrary detainment of Vladimir Kara-Murza, the McCain Institute, along with Human Rights First, the Free Russia Foundation, the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) will be hosting an event which will bring together experts, activists, and policymakers to discuss Kara-Murza’s current detention, mechanisms for his release, and the prospects for a free and democratic Russia.   

Additionally, the Institute, along with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Human Rights First, Human Rights Foundation, and the Free Russia Foundation, co-authored a letter calling for the moving of Kara-Murza’s case to the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. This advocacy adds to efforts including transcribing Kara-Murza’s speech in front of the Arizona House of Representatives, which is one of the speeches for which Kara-Murza has been charged. Members of the Insitute’s board, including Senators Ayotte and Heitkamp, also expressed solidarity for Kara-Murza.  

The freedom of Kara-Murza is tied with the freedom of Russia and, today, the world. Freeing Kara-Murza and advocating for his release means, and would mean, that a free and democratic Russia is still possible. #FreeKaraMurzaNow 

Human Rights Defenders

The Democracy program and McCain Institute are deeply committed to upholding freedom, democracy and universal human rights. Reflecting this commitment, our Human Rights Defenders program provides transitional assistance to human rights defenders who have been forced to flee their homes or to work underground due to harassment, intimidation or violent threats. With the COVID-19 pandemic, human rights defenders faced unprecedented challenges in operations and through magnifications of injustice. Despite travel restrictions and new threats to health and safety, the Human Rights Defenders program succeeded in supporting determined, resilient activists around the world. Since the program’s inauguration, it has proudly supported 88 defenders from 42 places, including its on-going support to Russian and Ukrainian activists involved in the fight for accountability. 

“What began as a small group of activists has grown into a team of nearly 30 specialists working to prevent human rights abuses and create greater accountability for the perpetrators of international crimes. Russia’s full invasion of Ukraine has only intensified the need for this critical work and has increased the pressure felt by our team members in the field. This funding from the McCain Institute will help support our work and bring justice for more Ukrainians and victims around the world.”
McCain Institute Logo
Roman Avramenko
Truth Hounds Executive Director

Truth Hounds received 30k from the McCain Alumni Club in 2022 for this organization’s work. 


Committed to continuing Senator McCain’s legacy of character-driven leadership, the McCain Institute empowers individuals around the world to educate others in the Institute’s leadership curriculum.


for the 2023 cohort of McCain Global Leaders

Countries Represented

in the 2023 cohort of McCain Global Leaders applications

The McCain Global Leaders Program supports character-driven leaders from around the world who embody Senator John McCain’s legacy of serving a cause greater than oneself.  Structured as a 10-month fellowship and experiential learning experience, the inaugural cohort featured 26 diverse leaders from 25 countries from around the world who are working “in the arena” to advance democracy, human rights and freedom. The program is designed to advance each Leader’s personal and professional leadership journey and impact by providing training, resources, and access to highly relevant regional and global networks with goal of preparing today’s leaders to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

The 2023 cohort will be announced later in June 2023.

McCain Leadership Curriculum

Over the span of 12 weeks, the leaders participated in a virtual curriculum focused on character-driven leadership.  The curriculum allowed leaders to engage each other directly as well as parallel their own leadership journey with that of Senator John McCain.  Real world case studies were conducted with experts that included Rick Davis, Michelle Bekkering, Djordje Todorovic and Jack McCain. 

Changemaker Tours

Each regional cohort of McCain Global Leaders participated in week-long study tour in a host country, focusing on the regional theme and experiences on the frontlines of various regional and global challenges.


Defending Democracy by Preventing Disinformation and Extremism

In Poland, the Europe and Eurasia members of McCain Global Leaders focused on the defense of democracy and the invasion of Ukraine. Leaders met with members of parliament, the Community of Democracies, International Republican Institute, the Office of the Mayor of Warsaw as well as numerous civil society organizations and journalists. While in Poland and in partnership with the World Central Kitchen, the leaders traveled to the Ukrainian border to volunteer in support of refugees.

South Africa

South Africa
Providing Peace and Security through Understanding and Reconciliation

The leaders from Africa and MENA traveled to Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa to learn from the history of apartheid and the subsequent reconciliation process. The leaders met with U.S. Embassy Pretoria, multiple academic and civil society organizations as well as NGOs focused on democracy throughout Africa. They also toured historical locations and museums that told the story of apartheid. A particularly impactful visit to Constitutional Hill, showed the transition from apartheid to the modern-day democracy that allows for freedom and human rights.


Approaches to Root Causes, Instability and Support to Displaced Populations

Leaders from the Western Hemisphere gathered in Bogotá and Cúcuta, Colombia to observe how the Colombian government and people have handled the large influx of refugees from Venezuela. The leaders met with Venezuelan and Colombian members of parliament, the International Republican Institute, International Justice Mission, UNHCR, local CSOs and NGOs and political observers to analyze the issue of migration in Colombia. They also traveled to the Venezuelan border to observe the situation and interact with the first line of response to refugees.



Promoting Sustainability and Environmentalism Through Direct Action and Viable Strategies

Leaders from Asia and Eurasia gathered in Singapore to study approaches to sustainable development in order to provide political and economic stability. The leaders met with Parliament and the private sector, including the Tata Group to discuss the topic of sustainable development and possible tech solutions to the problem. They also met with the Minister of Home Affairs to learn about Singapore’s rapid growth and multiculturalism and participated in hands-on service at the Food Bank of Singapore. Through these meetings, study tours, and hands-on experiences, the leaders absorbed takeaways that they can bring back to their home countries and implement positive change.


The Legacy Experience

The 2022 inaugural cohort of the McCain Global Leaders concluded their program in a country of significance to Senator McCain’s own leadership journey: Vietnam. During their trip the leaders reflected on their experiences during the program, shared how their own leadership philosophies have evolved, and continued to explore professional connections and grow in both their personal and professional lives. The leaders visited Ho Chi Minh City, DaNang, and Hanoi where they participated in professional workshops, panels, hands-on service opportunities, and visited Hoa Lò Prison where Senator John McCain spent five and a half years after being shot down in 1967. The leaders were joined by five members from the Global Advisory Council during their eight days in Vietnam.

Technical Skills Building and Peer Coaching

In September, the leaders began their participation in weekly virtual programming that focuses on real world skills building in areas such as management, fundraising, communications, responding to global challenges and more. Guest speakers have included David Axelrod, Nate Mook, Ali Soufan, Djordje Todorovic and Michelle Bekkering. The leaders are also participating in peer coaching sessions, the foundation to lasting relationships within the cohort.

Alumni Engagement

The McCain Institute is dedicated to creating impact from the many alumni that have participated in McCain Leadership Initiatives. In March, three alumni from the Western Hemisphere joined McCain Institute staff at the Concordia Americas Summit to share their experiences working on the issue of migration.  2022 MGL Andra Villagran spoke on two panels at the Summit, one on women in leadership and another on security in the Western Hemisphere.

Human Trafficking

From raising awareness through the R.E.A.L. Friends Don’t campaign to training law enforcement, service providers and school personnel in Arizona, our team takes a dynamic and innovative approach to building capacity and support for vulnerable populations locally, nationally and globally. The fight against modern slavery continues to be a significant priority of the McCain Institute.

Direct Action Where It Matters

The McCain Institute and its partners are building a vibrant global practitioners’ network of experienced human trafficking prosecutors to align on best practices for prosecuting human trafficking cases with a victim-centered approach and develop specific, targeted practical recommendations to improve the global criminal justice response to human trafficking.
Through our Arizona CHT programs, we’ve trained over 10,00 individuals in prevention and identification of human trafficking. We are proud to partner with the Arizona Human Trafficking Council and stakeholders across the state to provide expertise and support in ongoing initiatives. In addition to the anti-human trafficking work, the Arizona program partners with the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations to provide rich, informative, and timely programming to diverse individuals and organizations with a passionate interest in national and global affairs.
We have trained over 77,456 stakeholders to-date through specialized and scenario-based human trafficking and outreach programs. Additionally, we’ve centralized risk data for stakeholders through a Labor Data Dashboard.

Global Summit on Prosecuting Human Trafficking

In partnership with Justice and Care, the McCain Institute leads a Global Consortium on Prosecuting Human Trafficking to increase human trafficking investigation and prosecution efforts around the world.


In February 2023, members of the Consortium gathered in Windsor, England for an inaugural Summit. Prosecutors and advisors traveled from over 17 countries to engage in high-level training and networking. Training sessions included a complex simulated human trafficking case based on a Ukrainian refugee fact-pattern, and a presentation on the myth of the “perfect victim,” hosted by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The consortium also met with and welcome several speakers, including former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Dame Mary Stacey and Sophie Otiende, CEO of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery and noted survivor leader.

R.E.A.L. Friends Don’t Public Art

With increased financial support and new strategic partnerships, the R.E.A.L. Friends Don’t campaign has expanded outreach approaches to educate caregivers and teens about online safety and how to respond to potentially dangerous or inappropriate interactions.

Utilizing art as a tool for change, the campaign collaborated with the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and  one•n•ten , as well as local artists  Xico, Inc . and I AM Undefined Art, to create two public art installations. Intended to provoke thought and spark conversation among community members about safety in the digital world, the McCain Institute will unveil the two installations on May 3 rd.
To date, the campaign has reached over three million people. This year, a rigorous evaluation process was launched to assess the reach and success of the campaign. This study will provide the McCain Institute and the field with an understanding of the campaign’s impact on communities of color as well
as the best outreach approves to influence behavior change.

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Increasing Capacity Across the State of Arizona

We are proud to partner with the Arizona Human Trafficking Council and stakeholders across the state to provide expertise and support to ongoing initiatives, including advocating for long-lasting change with local and national leadership, the launch of the Arizona Human Trafficking Tip Line, and the $10 million Anti-Human Trafficking Grant Fund. To date, 15 agencies and over five million in funds have been allocated, supporting law enforcement, prosecution, and victim services to increase the safety net of resources for survivors and hold perpetrators accountable across Arizona. With support from the NFL through the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, the McCain Institute was able to provide direct funding to five victim service organizations and provide volunteer training for 5,000 community volunteers during Super Bowl week.

Targeted Violence

In October of 2021, President Joseph Biden stated that “domestic terrorism from white supremacists is the most lethal terrorist threat in the homeland.” For the first time, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated “Domestic Violent Extremism” as a National Priority Area within the Department’s Homeland Security Grant Program, which means that over $77 million will be allocated to state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to prevent, protect against, and respond to domestic violent extremism.

In response to this threat, the McCain Institute established the Preventing Targeted Violence program, which facilitated 104 student innovation projects, developed a Prevention Practitioners Network, launched a national SCREEN Hate campaign to raise awareness of online hate, and crafted a comprehensive Policy Blueprint to End White Supremacist Violence. Over the past two years, the PTV program has grown into one of the McCain Institute’s most notable programs. 

student innovation projects

facilitated across the universities and high schools in three countries

federal-level briefings

conducted to disseminate recommendations from the Policy Blueprint to End White Supremacist Violence

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in the Prevention Practitioner Network’s workshops and symposia

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of Prevention Practitioner workshop and symposium video recordings

The Growing impact of I2P

The I2P program is rapidly expanding, both in the United States and abroad. Since the program’s launch in the United States in spring 2021, 77 collegiate programs and 27 high school pilot programs have participated in peer-to-peer competitions. To date, this I2P participation has included three HBCUs, 11 universities serving majority Black and brown populations, and 35 total U.S. states as well as the District of Columbia. Three university teams in the U.K. and six university teams in France have also participated in I2P programs adapted to their local context.

Demand for I2P programming at the high school level in the U.S. has skyrocketed, with rapid one-year growth from the initial 10 pilot schools to the current 37 schools participating in the Fall 2022 semester program. Demand remains steady at the collegiate level, with 25 universities in the U.S. and three universities in France competing this fall.

In June 2022, the top three university and top three high school teams in the U.S. gathered in Washington D.C. to compete for cash awards, education scholarships, and invitations to participate in our year-long sustainment program. In September 2022, the top two teams from the U.K.’s and France’s I2P programs convened for a first-ever bilateral summit in which each team presented their projects to a panel of judges.

I2P student projects often sustain and scale beyond the semester competition. Seven U.S. universities have participated in the optional year-long sustainment program, which provides mentorship and assistance in scaling and sustaining their I2P projects. Two sustainment teams successfully competed for DHS funding through the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention grant program. The team from Lewis University was awarded $157,707 for its How2INFORM(H2i) project which supports media literacy training in classrooms. Arizona State University was awarded $659,327 to collaborate with the Middlebury Institute for International Studies team to continue their “Diverting Hate” project that aims to disrupt involuntary celibate (“incel”) radicalization on-ramps on Twitter.

The Expansion of PPN

Prevention Practioner Network Logo

The Prevention Practitioners Network (PPN) – a national network of interdisciplinary professionals dedicated to preventing targeted violence, terrorism and their impacts within the United States – has expanded to include over 875 members who have participated in our online workshops, attended symposia, and leveraged our resources.

We hosted a symposium in March and July 2022 for practitioners and professionals to address threat assessment and management, as well as early prevention through education. We had a combined total of 564 registrants for these events. Since spring, we have seen over 250 downloads of our practice and intervention guides and other published resources and our online workshops and symposia discussions have garnered over 3,000 views on YouTube and website.

In September, we officially launched our national PPN Directory via the ResilienceNet app, which can be downloaded on Apple and Android devices. The directory is an inclusive index of multi-stage violence prevention resources and clinically licensed mental and behavioral health providers. We have 80 applications from clinicians, organizations, and resources from across the United States to join our directory.

SCREEN Hate Launch

Screen Hate Launch
Screen Hate Launch

In September 2022, the McCain Institute launched SCREEN Hate – an online awareness campaign to address teens and young adults’ growing exposure to hate online. The campaign provides caregivers and concerned adults with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to keep youth safe from hateful messaging online that could incite violence. The campaign educates caregivers, concerned adults, friends, and teachers about the platforms and tactics violent extremists use to spread hate online. It also provides tips for discussing these topics with youth as well as resources for prevention and assistance. Finally, SCREEN Hate directs concerned adults to the McCain Institute’s PPN nationwide directory, which allows them to seek help if a teen or young adult is showing concerning behavior.

In the first month of the campaign, we have had 37,000 impressions and 814 unique visitors to the SCREEN Hate site.  In addition, two concerned adults reached out directly to the McCain Institute seeking help for youth in their lives after hearing about SCREEN Hate. Brette Steele and Rachel Hunkler co-authored an op-ed piece that was featured at the top of the USA Today opinion page and picked up by Yahoo News. Gray TV’s interview of Brette Steele on the campaign’s launch went out to 113 local news stations.

National Security
& Counterterrorism

The National Security & Counterterrorism Fellowship program brings together the brightest emerging leaders from the Five Eyes nations to build an enduring community of young national security professionals. In 2023, the third cohort of leaders convened for a week in Washington, D.C. to meet each other and learn from U.S. national security officials.

NSCT Fellows

from four Five Eyes countries in the NSCT fellowship network

Applications Received

for the 2023 cohort

NSCT Fellowship

This second cohort of fellows hails from four of the Five Eyes countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada – and brings with them a wealth of experience in national security, intelligence and counterterrorism. They join a growing network a total of 26 Fellows from across four of the Five Eyes nations.

A Week in London and Belfast

In February 2023, the McCain Institute announced the 15 selected members of the 2023
cohort. This third cohort includes fellows from repeat agencies such as CIA, FBI, National Counterterrorism Center, MI5, MI6, ASIO, the US State Department, the Australian National Police, and UK Foreign Office. It also includes first-time representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Australian Defense Force (ADF), the UK's Ministry of Defense (MOD), and New Zealand's Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Beginning on March 5, 2023, the new cohort convened in Washington D.C. for a week of
professional development, leadership training, and relationship building. Over the course of a
week, fellows met with 27 national security experts. The week began with a visit to the RAND offices in Arlington, VA, where Fellows competed against one another in “Hedgemony,” RAND’s original wargame strategy exercise.” Throughout the week, the group attended meetings at key agencies including the State Department, the Department of Justice, the Department of Treasury, and the CIA, and visited the International Spy Museum.

Fellows engaged with high-level leaders including Assistant Director of the FBI Robert Wells, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Christy Abizaid, Deputy Assistant to the
President Josh Geltzer, COO of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Lora Shiao,
and Deputy Director of the CIA David Cohen. Other sessions featured discussion with scholars
Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss and Bill Braniff, journalists Courtney Kube and Shane Harris, Capitol Hill staff, and national security experts like Michèle Flournoy. Fellows and speakers engaged on a wide range of issues from the current counterterrorism landscape to career trajectories and leadership skills.

One fellow summarized the experience:
“It was a great privilege to have frank and open conversations with senior leaders about
substantive national security issues as well as their careers and leadership, but I also learned
so much from the other members of the cohort. I really appreciated the chance to hear about
their experiences– what we had in common, what was different– and to reflect on where we
each have come from and where we want to go.”


The McCain Institute was privileged to welcome former U.S. Congressman Tom Malinowski as a John S. McCain Senior Fellow. We are equally honored to announce the Honorable Kono Taro, Japan’s minister of digital transformation, as our honorary Kissinger Fellow.

External Communications

Our programs and leadership initiatives are delivering real, tangible results – not just in Arizona and Washington, DC, but throughout the country and the world. Using social media and a new strategy of media engagement, we are continuing the conversations of the ideas and causes Senator John McCain dedicated his life to serving.

Media & Social Media Outreach

Press Mentions
Executive Director Media Hits
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Op-Eds Published (USA Today, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, Stars & Stripes)

*Data from May – October 2022.

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*Data from February – October 2022.

Events & Forums

At the core of our strategy is constructive engagement and convening experts. By hosting forums and events that assemble subject-matter experts, we can better promote our values through solution-oriented and substantive conversations. The  Coronavirus Pandemic provided us the opportunity to pivot and create virtual content that helped make these in-depth conversations more accessible.

Tbilisi Conference

The McCain Institute at Arizona State University, the George W. Bush Institute and the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) hosted the 2022 Tbilisi Conference in Georgia. This year’s international conference “Slava Ukraini” focused on Ukraine. Experts, leaders and policymakers from the United States and Europe held high-level discussions about Ukraine and Georgia, the future of NATO and the EU, and democracy in general, given ongoing Russian military aggression and disinformation.

McCain Institute Hosts New Business Alliance for Ukraine
North Macedonia Panel Graphic Eventbrite

Why North Macedonia Should Join the European Union Next and Why it Matters

We hosted a conversation focused on the efforts to bring the newest NATO member, North Macedonia, into the European Union.

The discussion featured Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs of North Macedonia Bojan Marichic, U.S. Ambassador to North Macedonia Kate Marie Byrnes and McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas. The conversation was moderated by McCain Institute Human Rights & Democracy Program Director Paul Fagan.

The discourse centered around North Macedonia’s position as a helpful partner of both the United States and NATO, and as a target for Russian and third-party disinformation campaigns. All the panelists praised the growth of North Macedonia’s democratic institutions and commitment to maintaining that progress.

The timing of this event comes just after the six-month mark of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has raised alarms in many former Eastern Bloc states including North Macedonia.

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