McCain Global Leaders:
Advisors

Global Advisory Council

The McCain Global Leaders (MGL) program is supported by an active Global Advisory Council whose membership includes global leaders with a strong track record in demonstrating character- driven leadership and expertise in a dynamic range of areas such as government, foreign policy and development, humanitarianism, private sector, national security, entrepreneurship, and technology.  The Global Advisory Council supports McCain Institute staff in the design and implementation of the MGL program, mentorship of participants and by playing an active role in virtual and in-person programming.

David Axelrod

Director, University of Chicago Institute of Politics

United States

David Axelrod
Michelle Bekkering

Director of National Engagement, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

United States

Michelle Bekkering
Joe Harper

COO, REB Capital Management

United States

Joe Harper
Hannah Vaughan Jones
Hannah Vaughan Jones

Broadcaster and Journalist

United Kingdom

Hannah Vaughan Jones
Hannah Vaughan Jones

Hannah Vaughan Jones is an Emmy-nominated journalist and broadcaster. She has anchored live television news programmes for CNN International and Sky News.

Hannah is a sought-after public speaker and event host with a particular interest in international development and global health. She has hosted summits and fora for multilaterals, the public and private sectors, including a WTO-WHO high level vaccine dialogue, the launch of a global Covid-19 taskforce, a Concordia Annual Summit interview with Facebook’s Sir Nick Clegg, and Alibaba Group’s Gateway to China conference. Hannah moderated at Women Deliver 2019 in Vancouver, and in 2018 she single-handedly hosted the London CHOGM Malaria Summit featuring Bill Gates, fifteen Heads of State and HRH The Prince of Wales.

Hannah runs her own production company, Lewnah Ltd, which is currently developing a video news service for young children. She is also a senior advisor to BB Partners-a Communications Advisory for Changemakers.

Hannah remains a vocal advocate for access to fertility treatment and global SRHR, given her own long journey to motherhood.

She lives in London, UK, with her son, Sonny, and BBC Newsanchor husband, Lewis.

Elisa Massimino
Elisa Massimino

Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

United States

Elisa Massimino
Elisa Massimino

Elisa Massimino is the Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Chair in Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, focusing on human rights. She also recently served as a Senior Fellow with the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and as a Practitioner-in-Residence at Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Previously, Massimino spent 27 years — the last decade as President and CEO — at Human Rights First, one of the nation’s leading human rights advocacy organizations.

Massimino has a distinguished record of human rights advocacy in Washington. She has testified before Congress dozens of times, writes frequently for mainstream publications and specialized journals, appears regularly in major media outlets, and speaks to audiences around the country. During her leadership at Human Rights First, the influential Washington newspaper The Hill consistently named her one of the most effective public advocates in the country.

The daughter of a nuclear submarine commander, Massimino was instrumental in Human Rights First’s effort to assemble a group of retired generals and admirals to speak publicly against policies authorizing the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody. This coalition of military leaders played a pivotal role in restoring compliance with the Geneva Conventions.

Massimino is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar. She holds a law degree from the University of Michigan, a Master’s in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University, and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity University.

James McCain

McCain Family

United States

James McCain
H.R. McMaster
H.R. McMaster

Former National Security Advisor

United States

H.R. McMaster
H.R. McMaster

H. R. McMaster is the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is also the Bernard and Susan Liautaud Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He was the 26thassistant to the president for National Security Affairs. Upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1984, McMaster served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army for thirty-four years before retiring as a Lieutenant General in June 2018.

From 2014 to 2017, McMaster designed the future army as the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and the deputy commanding general of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). As commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, he oversaw all training and education for the army’s infantry, armor, and cavalry force. His has extensive experience leading soldiers and organizations in wartime including Commander, Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force—Shafafiyat in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2010 to 2012; Commander, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006; and Commander, Eagle Troop, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Operation Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991. McMaster also served overseas as advisor to the most senior commanders in the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

McMaster holds a PhD in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy from 1994to 1996.He is author of Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World and the award-winning Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies that Led to Vietnam. He was a contributing editor for Survival: Global Politics and Strategy from 2010 to 2017.His many essays, articles, and book reviews on leadership, history, and the future of warfare have appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Survival, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.

Nate Mook

CEO, World Central Kitchen

United States

Nate Mook
Dikembe Mutombo

Humanitarian, Founder of NBA Africa

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dikembe Mutombo
Wai Wai Nu

Founder and Executive Director, Women Peace Network

Myanmar

Wai Wai Nu
Kristina Reinsalu
Kristina Reinsalu

Programme Director, e-Democracy, e-Governance Academy

Estonia

Kristina Reinsalu
Kristina Reinsalu
Kristina Reinsalu helps central and local governments and civil society organizations to understand:
  • How ICT influences the everyday political and societal practices of citizens and society as a whole?
  • How governments should respond to expectations and demands of citizens to act not as clients but as partners?
  • How to make decision-making processes transparent and participative and what is the added value it brings?
As a Programme Director of e-Democracy at the e-Governance Academy, she leads the ideation, planning, implementation, and monitoring of several local, national, and international projects on digital engagement and open governance and how ICT support these processes. Her passion is local democracy, as she sees it as a testbed for democracy innovations. Her most recent projects focus on how to measure the impact of e-participation initiatives and how cities, when engaging citizens become more resilient in facing green deal challenges. Kristina holds an MA in Public Relations and a PhD in Media and Communications. She is an internationally acknowledged public speaker on digital engagement and her articles have been published in various international scientific journals and newspapers. Kristina speaks Estonian, English, Spanish, Russian and some German.
Katya Rimkunas
Katya Rimkunas

Regional Deputy Director, Latin America and the Caribbean, International Republican Institute

United States

Katya Rimkunas
Katya Rimkunas

Katya Rimkunas currently serves as the Regional Deputy Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Republican Institute (IRI). She brings more than 15 years experience in international development and democratic governance. In her current capacity she leads and manages programs that strengthen democratic institutions and processes in 20countries and oversees the Institute’s Washington-based and regional staff. She was appointed to this role in April 2014. An expert on issue-based policy development, civil society strengthening and government accountability, Rimkunas has provided consultations and trainings to local Institute partners and beneficiaries on a variety of issues ranging from organizational-capacity building to long-term sustainability to grassroots outreach. She has also observed elections in Nigeria, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In 2018, Rimkunas testified before the U.S. House of Representative’s Foreign Affairs Committee on the 2018 elections in the Western Hemisphere and the implications for U.S. policy. Rimkunas joined IRI in 2005 managing programs in Cuba, Mexico and Brazil. She has covered almost every country in which IRI works in Latin America including Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru and Bolivia and oversaw the opening and expansion of offices in El Salvador and Nicaragua. She has led successful assessment missions to Panama and St. Lucia, establishing IRI’s program in Panama and became the division’s senior advisor on innovative programming, strategy and working in closed societies. Prior to joining IRI, Rimkunas worked in the office of Senator John McCain. She was born in Peru and grew up in Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Political Science and Latin American studies. She is also a graduate of the Campaign School at Yale

Josette Sheeran
Josette Sheeren

Executive Chair, McCain Institute for International Leadership

United States

Josette Sheeran
Josette Sheeren
Ambassador Josette Sheeran, a founding trustee of the McCain Institute, currently serves as Executive Chairman. In this role, Sheeran is overseeing a strategic evaluation of the Institute’s mission and programs with a goal of ensuring transformational impact in the U.S. and the global community through the vision of its namesake, Sen. John S. McCain.
Sheeran previously served as the seventh president and CEO of Asia Society. In the position, which she assumed in June 2013, she was responsible for leading and advancing the organization’s work throughout the United States and Asia, and across its disciplines of arts and culture, policy and business, and education.
Sheeran is former vice chair of the World Economic Forum, which hosts the annual Davos and Davos in China gathering of world leaders. In this position, she helped advance global initiatives and global, regional and industry agendas such as Grow Africa, which has attracted $4 billion in investment commitments to end hunger and malnutrition in Africa. She recently served at the Harvard Kennedy School as a Fisher Fellow in the Future of Diplomacy.
Prior to her tenure at the World Economic Forum, Sheeran was executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in2006. There she was responsible for managing the world’s largest humanitarian organization, leading a team of 13,000 people in more than 70 countries and managing an annual budget of more than $3 billion—including $1 billion in Asia.
Under Sheeran’s leadership, the WFP increased its donor base to more than 100 nations, and became the first global institution to include the so-called BRIC countries and the Gulf States among its top 10 donors. She put in place historic reforms of food aid, helping cut the cycle of hunger and malnutrition by purchasing nutritious food directly from developing world farmers. She also instituted emergency protocols that helped the WFP improve its ability to save lives and livelihoods in disasters and emergencies, most notably in Pakistan, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Haiti and in the Horn of Africa.
Sheeran has held senior positions in the U.S. government, and in those positions she conducted high-level diplomacy with virtually every nation in Asia. As U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, she led new State Department initiatives which supported economic transformation and reconstruction in Afghanistan and Central Asia and with APEC and ASEAN. Earlier she served for five years as deputy U.S. trade representative, conducting negotiations across Asia, including with China, Australia, Singapore, India, Korea, and Japan.
In 2011, Forbes named Sheeran the world’s 30th most powerful woman; Foreign Policy has listed her among its top 100 women on Twitter; and Sheeran’s TED Talk on ending world hunger has been viewed more than one million times.
Sheeran is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on its Washington Advisory Board. She has received several honors for her leadership in the fight against hunger and malnutrition: she was awarded Japan’s Niigata International Food Award; named Commandeur de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole by the government of France; and received Brazil’s highest civilian award, the Grand Official Order of the ‘Rio Branco,’ from President Lula Da Silva. Sheeran was also honored by the Huffington Post with its “Game Changer” award in 2011,along with Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and economist Esther Dufl0.
Ali Soufan
Ali Soufan

Founder, The Soufan Center

United States

Ali Soufan
Ali Soufan

Ali Soufan is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Soufan Group and Founder of The Soufan Center. A leading national security and counterterrorism expert, he plays a significant advisory role in global intelligence issues. As an FBI Supervisory Special Agent, Ali investigated and supervised complex international terrorism cases, including the East Africa embassy bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, and the events surrounding 9/11. Ali had a distinguished career in the FBI, including serving on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, New York Office, where he coordinated both domestic and international counterterrorism operations. He often operated out of hostile environments and carried out sensitive extraterritorial missions and high-level negotiations, and he has received numerous awards and commendations for his work. These include the FBI Director’s Award for Excellence, the Respect for Law Enforcement Award for “relentless pursuit of truth and bringing terrorist subjects before the bar of justice,” and a commendation from the U.S. Department of Defense that labeled him “an important weapon in the ongoing war on terrorism.”

Ali is also a respected author and has written the Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State and the New York Times top-10 bestseller The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda, winner of the 2012 Ridenhour Book Prize. On its original release in 2011, many of the most significant passages in The Black Banners were redacted; after a decade of legal wrangling, the full story is now told in The Black Banners (Declassified): How Torture Derailed the War on Terror after 9/11(2020). In addition to his writing, Ali has testified before the U.S. Congress, presidential commissions, and the British Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, and he has appeared as an expert panelist and guest speaker at international security forums, both in the United States and abroad. He has contributed to and been profiled and interviewed by 60 Minutes, Frontline, The New Yorker, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Straits Times, Der Spiegel, and Asharq al-Awsat, and he has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the BBC. His work has also been detailed in several nonfiction books, including The Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright, which was adapted into a 10-part Hulu series in 2018. Ali is an honors graduate of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, where he received his undergraduate double degree in International Studies and Political Science, minoring in Cultural Studies and Anthropology. He received a Master of Arts in International Relations from Villanova University, graduating magna cum laude.

Jean Sung

Executive Director and Head of the Philanthropy Centre, J.P. Morgan Private Bank, Asia Pacific

Hong Kong

Jean Sung
Djordje Todorovic

Senior Program Manager, National Endowment for Democracy

Serbia

Djordje Todorovic
Justin Wein

Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative David Price (D - NC)

United States

Justin Wein
Victoria Welborn
Victoria Welborn

Senior Program Manager, National Democratic Institute

United States

Victoria Welborn
Victoria Welborn
Victoria Welborn is a Senior Program Manager at the National Democratic Institute where she works on global topics that land at the intersection of open government and civic technology in over 50 countries. Victoria spends most of her days trying to find creative ways to help civic activists and government officials leverage technology and policy solutions to create more transparent and trustworthy governments. Specifically, Victoria’s portfolio evaluates how parliament can utilize good governance policies to counter authoritarian influence operations. She’s particularly interested in analyzing how malign actors utilize tactics of disinformation, opaque contracting and government lending, as well as foreign political financing to erode democracy and public trust in institutions. Prior to joining NDI, she worked in a US Congressional leadership office as Creative Director creating digital communications strategies for House lawmakers. She has also worked as a digital media producer at a political advertising firm, as well as Director of Operations in the House of Representatives. Victoria received a BA in Psychology at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas and is currently pursuing a MA in Media, Technology, and Democracy at American University.

Alumni Advisory Board

A key component of the McCain Global Leaders program will be access to the McCain Institute’s global network of alumni and partners who have worked with the McCain Institute on previous leadership programs such as the Next Generation Leaders program.  To support current MGL participants and to foster a vibrant global network, the Alumni Advisory Board is comprised of alumni of McCain Institute leadership programs.  The Alumni Advisory Board is responsible for conducting a Continual Learning Series that supports the global network of alumni in their leadership journey as well as hosting an annual McCain Leadership Summit that brings together experts and McCain Institute alumni to discuss ongoing trends in leadership and the global environment.

Ezzeddine Ben Rhima
Ezzeddine Ben Rhima

Digital Marketing & Communication Manager, Innovation Strategist, Co-Founder of am-i-odd.com

Tunisia

Ezzeddine Ben Rhima
Ezzeddine Ben Rhima

Ezzeddine Ben Rhima is an innovation strategist and digital marketing entrepreneur, co-founder of the mentorship platform am-i-odd.com. He was active contributor to setting up the First Academic Tunisian Innovation Lab which is intended to help students tap into their creativity and cultivating an innovative culture. In December 2014, Mr. Ben Rhima was nominated Young Leader by the Westerwelle Foundation - a German Non-Profit Organization which works to strengthen democracy by promoting economic development worldwide, and he contributed to the First Young Leaders Conference (YLC) hosted in Berlin. Mr. Ben Rhima has strengthened his character-driven leadership when he successfully accomplished the Next Generation Leader program of the McCain Institute for International Leadership. He is pursuing the implementation of his Leadership goals which aim to promote Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Mr. Ben Rhima was previously an Associate Team Member, Marketing & Innovation with LearnLaunch in Boston, an education innovation hub which supports community that drives innovation to transform learning. Convinced that the digital economy is the best way for nations to thrive, Mr. Ben Rhima Co-initiated the “Tunisian Knowledge Society: Social Innovation Initiative,” that aims to build IT apps for solving social problems and conduct pilot projects for a smarter society. He seeks to create opportunity for Tunisian youth in the field of entrepreneurship and technology to foster job creation. Mr. Ben Rhima is a graduate of the National Engineering School of Tunis where he earned his Master’s Degree in Innovation Management. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Web-marketing, and master's Degree in Electronic Marketing both from the Higher School of Economic and Commercial Sciences of Tunis.

Mira Koroma Dumbaya
Mira Dumbuya

Asst. Commissioner of Police

Sierra Leone

Mira Koroma Dumbaya
Mira Dumbuya

ACP Mira Dumbuya holds a B.A. in Nation Building and MSC in Peace & Development Studies. She is a proud alumna of Leadership Studies at McCain Institute for International Leadership, USA., and is currently completing her Doctoral Studies at African Graduate University whilst on secondment with United Nations Headquarters, New York, as a Police Planning Officer. She enlisted into the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) on 3rd June 2006, worked in various Divisions, with over 20 local and international trainings, and over 10 achievement awards.  She has contributed immensely to the development of the SLP and well known for her innovative drives as could be seen in Central Police Division, Eastend Police Division, Family Support Unit.  Founder of Next Generation Reformers, a youth mentoring organization, Founder, and President of the SLP Female Leaders and currently Coordinator UN Policewomen’s Network at HQ.

Eman El-Abd
Eman Sayed Elabd

Economist, Office of the Egyptian Minister of Finance

Egypt

Eman El-Abd
Eman Sayed Elabd

Eman Sayed Elabd is an economist in the office of the Egyptian Minister of Finance. She studies and analyzes various economic and development issues in order to provide advice on polices, and legislation related to such issues. Ms. Elabd believes that it is her duty as a human being to help all people who are living a deprived difficult life all over the world and provide them with a more decent living.

Rosie Gomez
Rosie Gomez

Senior Program Specialist, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

United States

Rosie Gomez
Rosie Gomez

Rosie Gomez is a Senior Program Specialist at the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this role, she leads interagency efforts and builds public/private partnerships to support early childhood development and early learning. She has dedicated her career to Federal service helping to improve the overall health and well-being of the nation’s children and families. She has served as the lead for addressing the issue of human trafficking within the child welfare population at HHS. In her role as Senior Policy Advisor on Trafficking Prevention, she led the planning of National conferences, meetings, and created innovative approaches to anti-trafficking initiatives. She has provided oversight to millions of Federal dollars focused on the topics of human trafficking, child maltreatment prevention, early childhood development, and public health initiatives. Her experience has included working directly with many at-risk populations, including survivors of human trafficking. As a result of her dedication to public service and leadership, she has received many awards and was chosen to participate in the Next Generation Leaders program with the McCain Institute for International Leadership to focus on the topic of human trafficking prevention. She completed her Master of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State University.

Zaw Tu Hkawng
Zaw Tu Hkawng

Anti-Military Coup Activist and Founder, Through Eyes of Agony Art Program

Myanmar

Zaw Tu Hkawng
Zaw Tu Hkawng

Zaw Tu Hkawng is an anti-military coup activist from Myanmar and a founder of "Through the Eyes of Agony" art program for Myanmar’s internally displaced children. Zaw has trained a diverse group of leaders across Myanmar to become Character-Driven-Leaders who respect human rights and embrace democracy values. In addition, Zaw has worked for BBC Media Action Myanmar as a project coordinator for the nationally broadcasted radio drama called "Tea Cup Diaries" which supports peace and social cohesion among its varied ethnic and religious communities. Moreover, Zaw has provided special assistants to Myanmar refugees in Malaysia and rehabilitated drug users in Myanmar.

Vimal Kumar
Vimal Kumar

Founder, Democratizing Leadership Initiative and Movement for Scavenger Community

India

Vimal Kumar
Vimal Kumar

Vimal Kumar is Next Generation Leader, at The McCain Institute- USA, founder, Democratizing Leadership Initiative (DLI) USA, and the founder of Movement for Scavenger Community (MSC), an organization committed to the eradication of manual scavenging in India and bringing education and awareness to the existing scavenger community. As one of the rare members of the scavenger community who was able to obtain higher education, Kumar provides the unique perspective needed to provide insight into the issues caused by India’s caste system. Kumar seeks to eradicate caste violence and prejudice attitudes towards the scavenger community through the establishment of leadership education centers. Kumar is committed to building the leadership movement among grassroots organizations and activists around the world. Kumar did his Master’s in social work and also completing his Ph.D. in social work. Kumar is also serving on the advisory board of the Journal of Modern Slavery, USA.

Nthabiseng Letsie
Nthabiseng Claudia Letsie

Author and Elimination of Child Labour Specialist, Ministry of Labour and Employment

Lesotho

Nthabiseng Letsie
Nthabiseng Claudia Letsie

Nthabiseng Claudia Letsie is an author and elimination of child labour specialist currently working for the Ministry of Labour and Employment for more than a decade (12 years).  She is entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating all the national activities meant for the eradication of child labour and strengthening the capacity of stakeholders to  combat child labour in Lesotho. Her duties also include awareness raising by holding public gatherings at community level, and media appearances on children’s rights particularly on national legal framework and international standards on child labour. As a Coordinating Labour Inspector within the Child Labour Unit Ms. Letsie also participate  on behalf of the Ministry on child protection forums and multi-sectoral committee on curbing human trafficking to guarantee sectoral mainstreaming of child labour issues.

Furthermore, she also serves as a Secretariat of the Programme Advisory Committee on Child Labour. She also advocates and lobby resources for activities meant for the  elimination of child labour. In an effort to enhance her research-based knowledge and skills on child labour trafficking, Ms. Letsie was afforded an opportunity by the McCain Institute to be a research fellow at the Arizona State University, Office of Sex Trafficking intervention Research in the United States of America in September 2019 to May 2020. Ms. Letsie is also a member of the Global Association of Human Trafficking Scholars as a developing scholar for her contribution on a journal article as the first author. Ms. Letsie is also recognized by the Young African Leaders Initiative as one of the leaders in the Southern African Region who are contributing towards the elimination of child labour in their respective countries.