McCain Global Leaders Program

Preparing Today’s Leaders to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges:

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, each cohort will include 25 diverse leaders 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 the goal of preparing today’s leaders to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

A Regional and Global Approach:

To adapt to and meet the needs of an ever changing and complex global environment, the McCain Institute will determine a thematic focus area for each region in the world and recruit participants who work on relevant issues related to each theme.  Throughout the 10-month program, the Leaders will participate in programming that is both regional and global with the goal of connecting them to a highly relevant and targeted professional peer group in their home region, as well as a broader and diverse network of global peers. 

2022 Regional Themes: 

  • Western Hemisphere: Migration: Approaches to Root Causes, Instability and Support to Displaced Populations
  • Europe and Eurasia: Defending Democracy by Preventing Disinformation and Extremism
  • Africa and Mena: Providing Peace and Security through Understanding and Reconciliation
  • Asia and Oceania: Sustainability and Environmentalism in Support of Stability, Security and Human Rights

Connecting Leaders from Around the World:

Leaders are selected through a competitive, open recruitment process.  There will be 25 leaders per annual cohort broken into 4 regional groupings.  Though there is no age requirement, leaders will likely be between the ages of 25 and 40.  Leaders should possess a strong track record of serving a cause greater than oneself as well as experience working directly on the regional theme.  The McCain Institute emphasizes diversity in the form of gender, ethnicity, persons with disabilities, political viewpoint, economic background and education.

Cohort 2022 Programming Schedule

Leaders will participate in three memorable in-person events, which will be enhanced by online learning which includes expert-led practical skills training and an integrated leadership development curriculum which is inspired by Senator McCain’s legacy and emphasizes peer-mentoring and group problem-solving.

The McCain Leadership Curriculum:  Throughout the program, Leaders participate in a curriculum that is administered both online and in person.  The curriculum is designed to incorporate lessons and experiences from Senator McCain’s life, to reinforce and augment in-person engagements and to focus on community building and group problem-solving.  A central tenet of the curriculum is a dynamic peer-mentorship model, through which the Leaders support each other’s journeys directly.  The curriculum will help each leader chart their own journey as a changemaker while also imparting real world skills that will assist leaders as they take on some of the most difficult challenges facing their home country and region. 

Spring 2022 

The Leadership Experience (Sedona, Arizona and Washington, D.C.): The first in-person event of the program, the Leadership Experience, brings together all participants on the sidelines of the annual McCain Institute Sedona Forum in Sedona, AZ., and in Washington, D.C.  The 10-day long program exposes leaders to the principles that guided Senator McCain’s leadership approach and connects them with experts in their core thematic areas and with key decision-makers.  Leaders will also work together and with experts to establish their own leadership philosophy and goals.  

Summer 2022

The Changemaker Tour (Host Country in Each Region):  The second in-person event of the program convenes each regional cohort for five-day regional study tours that provide exposure to that region’s thematic area in a host country and focuses on developing targeted regional connections and networks, while providing the opportunity to discuss solutions and ideas related to the theme.  Leaders will be encouraged, but not required, to explore regional professional collaborations – the McCain Institute will actively support any resulting collaborations.  There will be one Changemaker Tour for the participants in each respective region.

Fall 2022

The Legacy Experience (Vietnam):  The capstone program of the 10-month journey will, for a second time, bring all Leaders together in a country of significance to Senator McCain’s own leadership journey. The Legacy Experience will take place in Vietnam and examine the journey and relationship between Senator McCain and the people of Vietnam.  During this seven-day trip, Leaders will convene to reflect on their experience during the program, share how their own leadership philosophies have evolved, explore professional collaborations, outline the next steps of their leadership journey and learn about the resources that they can access as program alumni. 

Covid-19 Protocols and Contingencies:

The McCain Institute has developed an equitable and transparent framework for determining the safety and viability of holding in-person programs in the United States and abroad, as well as a detailed set of contingencies that include virtual programming. 
Please find more information here.

If you have a question, please email [email protected].

Interested in becoming a McCain Global Leader? Or know someone else who might be?