We have prepared answers to frequently asked questions about our program.  Please take a look at these questions and responses to see if your concerns are addressed.  If, after reviewing the provided information, your question is unanswered and you need additional information, please email [email protected].


What are the eligibility requirements?

Applicants should be in their mid-career, possess working proficiency in English with a high-degree of professional, academic and work achievements.  Aspiring Next Generation Leaders must demonstrate commitment to highest level of ethical leadership, show decisive recommendations that substantiate their leadership qualities, and make a commitment to return to their home environment at the end of the program year. To determine if you are a competitive candidate for the NGL Program, please review the biographies of previous leaders on our website.

What is considered mid-career? Is there a specific age requirement?

Participants should have a decade or more of career experience. There is no specific age requirement, however, typical NGLs range from 30 to 45 years old.

Do I have to be fluent in English?

Yes, applicants must be fluent in English. NGLs must be able to read and understand complex texts; give oral presentations in front of small and large audiences, build a professional network; and create personal relationships with colleagues, Institute staff and distinguished guests. Additionally, participation in the NGL program is contingent on approval of a J1 U.S. visa. English proficiency is a requirement for this visa.

Does the program accept students or academics?

Although the McCain Institute is part of Arizona State University, the NGL Program does not accept full-time students or full-time academics. The NGL program is designed for leader-practitioners who seek to implement a high-impact vision for leadership in their home environments.

Is the McCain Institute looking for individuals with a specific professional background or from a specific country?

The McCain Institute selects target countries and sectors that are specific to each program year. However, applicants from all countries and professional backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The key criteria for acceptance into the Program are leadership capacity and vision, your draft Leadership Action Plan, and fulfillment of all other eligibility requirements.


Do I need to be nominated or can I apply?

You do not need to be nominated in order to apply to the program. Applicants interested in applying to the program should proceed directly to the online application.  Please do not nominate yourself. Multiple nominations do not increase your chances of being selected.

What is the role of a nominator?

Nominators bring to the attention of the program to qualified candidates who are then invited to apply for participation.  Nominators have the opportunity to highlight particular qualifications of an applicant.

As a nominator can I nominate more than one person?

Yes, we encourage our nominators to recommend as many qualified candidates as they can.

What is the deadline for nominations?

The deadline for nominations is typically the end of January each year. This allows applicants time to complete their application before the application deadline in mid-February. For information regarding the annual application deadline, please refer to our website for additional information. Please note that the application window for the 2021 NGL cohort has shifted due to COVID-19.


If I have previously applied to the Next Generation Leaders program, may I apply again?

Applicants who have applied to a previous year’s program may submit a new application for the current application period. However, please note that our pool of candidates is highly competitive each year. If you choose to apply to our program for a second time, be sure to highlight any additional leadership accomplishments and impact you have had since your last application.

What is a Leadership Action Plan?

A Leadership Action Plan (LAP) is a detailed plan of character-driven action for implementation that creates change in your home environment that impacts the public, private or social sector.  NGLs are expected to implement their LAP upon the conclusion of the initial program year.

What is the application deadline?

The application period traditionally runs from November to mid-February. Due to COVID-19, the application period for the 2021 NGL cohort has been delayed and will likely open in Spring 2021. Applications are not accepted on a rolling basis and must be submitted during the set application period for consideration. For more on our deadline please see our website.

When will I learn of the final decision on my application?

Final decisions will be sent to all applicants, both successful and unsuccessful, via email within 6-8 weeks following the close of the application window. The program cannot release information or talk about the status of your application on an individual basis before this time.

If I am not selected, may I solicit feedback on my application?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide feedback on individual applications due to the large number of applications.  We receive a large number of applications for a limited number of slots every year.  Not being selected is in no way a negative reflection on the accomplishments of our many highly skilled applicants.


How long is the program? What are the start and end dates?

The program is nine months long and begins in early September and runs through late May of the following calendar year. Participants are expected to be in the United States for the entire program year and attend all four leadership development modules along with contributing at their placement organizations to gain the full NGL experience. Please note that the program start and end dates are likely to shift in 2021 due to ongoing COVID-19 global travel restrictions.

What are the expectations of an NGL for the program year?

NGLs are expected to be present and actively participating during all program modules in Washington, New York and Arizona. NGLs are expected to work at their placement organizations and to positively contribute to the organization’s overall mission and goals.  NGLs must develop and refine their Leadership Action Plans for implementation after the program year. Finally, following the initial program year, NGLs are called on to be active members in the NGL Global Network and to inform the the Institute on a bi-annual basis of the status of their LAPs and their impact in their home environments.

How is my professional placement chosen?

Placement organizations are individually selected by the NGL program staff for each Next Generation Leader.  Placements align with each NGL’s professional background and Leadership Action Plan. Placements are designed to be a professional broadening experience to aid in each NGL’s leadership journey.  They are not intended to be a simple extension of of a participant’s career path.  NGLs may not choose their placements. 

Will I receive a stipend?

Yes, the McCain Institute provides each NGL a stipend that covers all standard living costs for a year. Each participant receives the stipend amount monthly, covering expenses such as rent, utilities, food and any other regular costs. The stipend amount varies depending on the cost of living in the participant’s placement city. Added to the stipend is travel allowance that NGLs may use for professional travel in support of their LAP’s during the program year. The overall stipend is separate from the program related cost, such as travel to and from leadership training modules, module lodgings and per diem for the duration of program modules are covered by the McCain Institute separately. Per visa regulations the McCain Institute also covers health insurance and workers comp.

May I bring my family?

Yes, you may bring immediate family members with you to the United States for the initial program year. We cover international travel for immediate family to and from your placement site in the United States at the beginning and end of the program. We do not provide an additional stipend for family members for travel to the training modules in the United States. Any other family expenses will be the responsibility of the NGL.


What is a placement organization?

A placement organization is any organization, private or public, profit or non-profit, that hosts and contributes to the professional development of one of our Next Generation Leaders during the program year.

What costs are associated with hosting a Next Generation Leader?

There are no costs associated with hosting a Next Generation Leader. The McCain Institute covers all costs including administrative costs.

What is expected of a placement organization?

We ask placement organizations to provide Next Generation Leaders with a workspace and full integration into the organization’s team for roughly eight months. Our NGLs are not interns; they are mid-career professionals, and are placed in a host organization to contribute to its mission and to develop their Leadership Action Plans.

How long will NGLs be with my organization?

Our NGLs work with their placement organizations for roughly 10 months out of the year. Our program meets four times a year for leadership development training modules. Each module lasts approximately two weeks and occurs in September, January, March and May. We meet in Arizona, New York and in Washington. The time in between these modules is spent at the host organization.

What contributions should we expect NGLs to make to our organization?

The McCain Institute expects each NGL to make significant contributions to his/her host organization as mid-career professionals with substantial work experience. We ask that NGLs be fully integrated into the organization and given responsibilities, as any other employee would be.  The only added element for an NGL is that he/she needs time to work on a Leadership Action Plan.  We estimate the time-sharing between host organization and LAP to be 60 to 40 percent, respectively.

What is the relationship between the NGL, placement organization and the McCain Institute?

The McCain Institute provides overall program management and coordination. Beyond that, we see the relationship between the three parties involved is a partnership to develop the NGL’s professional and leadership capacity and empower him or her to make a sustainable impact in his or her community.

How do I become a placement organization?

If you are interested in hosting a Next Generation Leader in your organization please contact [email protected].


How can I support the Next Generation Leaders Program?

We welcome new sponsors of our program and are very grateful for the support of our current donors. Please contact Anna Voloshin, the McCain Institute’s senior director for development, at [email protected] to discuss sponsorship opportunities.