The McCain Institute is deeply saddened by the passing of Lorne W. Craner, a dear friend of the Institute and of our namesake, the late Senator John McCain. Lorne, like Senator McCain, worked tirelessly to improve the lives of others around the world, particularly through his leadership at the International Republican Institute (IRI), which he served as president from 1995-2001, and again from 2004-2013. Senator McCain was the Chairman of IRI from 1992 until his passing in 2018.

“Lorne’s impact will long be felt around the world.  He exemplified character driven leadership in his stewardship of IRI and it was an honor to follow in the footsteps,” said McCain Institute Executive Director, Ambassador Mark Green. “He will be remembered for his many accomplishments in service to the noble cause of promoting democracy.”

Lorne’s relationship with Senator McCain began much earlier than his time at IRI and was much more personal.  His father, Bob Craner, served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and was shot down and imprisoned by the Vietnamese in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, the same prison where Senator McCain was held. The two shared a wall between their cells and the friendship they forged in that crucible was, in the Senator’s description, “one of the most meaningful in my life. We were as close as brothers.”

“Lorne was a good friend of our family and we will miss him very much.  My husband valued Lorne’s leadership of IRI and his commitment to promoting human rights and democracy,” said Cindy McCain, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the McCain Institute. “I am personally grateful for Lorne’s friendship and counsel for more than three decades.  My deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Anne, and his three children, Isabelle, Alex and Charlie.”

Lorne began his career on Capitol Hill, working for Senator McCain and for Congressman Jim Kolbe in the 1980s. He also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in the first term of the George W. Bush administration. Upon his departure, he received the State Department’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, from Secretary of State Colin Powell. His other government service included Director of Asian Affairs at the National Security Council under General Brent Scowcroft, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs under Secretary of State James Baker, both in the George H.W. Bush administration.

Lorne’s leadership in international affairs will be profoundly missed. His legacy will leave a lasting impression globally as one of the finest examples of America’s long commitment to advancing the freedom and equal justice in the world.