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

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, speak out, serve causes greater than themselves – and vote on November 6.

In Action

A Call for Mavericks
McCain Institute: Join Us -- In The Arena
The Sedona Forum 2018 Humanitarian Focus with Cindy McCain and Ashton Kutcher
Next Generation Leaders Impact Video


Department of State’s Global Engagement Center Awards the McCain Institute Grant to Counter Disinformation in Georgia

McCain Institute partners with Arizona State University’s Looking Glass and Georgia-based Economic Policy Research Center and Rustavi 2 for program WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 7, 2018) – The Department of State’s Global Engagement…

Humphrey Fellows Visit McCain Institute

Arizona State University’s Cronkite School’s Hubert H. Humphrey fellows and American University’s Human Rights fellows visited the McCain Institute for a panel and Q&A session. Ambassador Kurt Volker, Executive Director…

McCain Institute Launches New Initiative: Mavericks Needed

Washington, DC – Today, the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University launched its first major initiative since the passing of Senator John McCain: #MavericksNeeded, a nonpartisan campaign calling…


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.

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McCain Institute

#TeamTuesday #InTheArena ... See MoreSee Less

13 Nov 2018

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In the words of @HamiltonMusical, "The plan is to fan this spark into a flame." How will you galvanize your elected officials to champion human rights? #MavericksNeeded

Follow live discussion on how the United States should approach the use of proxy forces in civil conflict that we organized together with @McCainInstitute, @GlobalSOF & @NewAmericaISP

#SOFPolicy #futureofwar