In this blog post, Liana Hutton, a Fall 2021 McCain Institute intern and student at Wake Forest University, wrote about her experience helping to launch the McCain Global Leaders Program.
The Launch of the New McCain Global Leaders Program from an Intern’s Perspective
I’m in Washington, D.C., right now through a university program. I interviewed for the Global Leadership Initiatives Internship, not knowing what a leadership intern entailed being; however, I could not be happier that this is where I ended up. My friends and family can speak to how much I love being a part of this new exciting leadership program, especially when much of the world is seeking character-driven leadership.
I am studying Sociology, Anthropology, and Politics & International Affairs, which fits right into my interests in human rights issues, environmentalism, criminal justice, and the marginalization of minority groups. Furthermore, I had not realized that “character-driven” leadership was, and is, a very vital factor in fighting for all these crucial issues. During my internship interview, Scott Nemeth, Senior Manager of Leadership Initiatives at the McCain Institute, explained that a brand-new global leadership program would be launched and I would have the opportunity to work with him on the launch of the McCain Global Leaders Program.
The McCain Global Leaders Program is a fellowship program that supports character-driven leaders worldwide who embody Senator John McCain’s legacy of serving a cause greater than oneself. It is structured as a 10-month fellowship and experiential learning experience. Each cohort will include a diverse group of 25 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 to prepare today’s leaders to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
In my role, I helped to examine the thematic areas of focus for each of the four regions this program is targeting — the Western Hemisphere, Europe/Eurasia, Africa/MENA, and Asia/Oceania. I was especially proud of my work on the Asia/Oceania thematic focus area, which is “Promoting Sustainability and Environmentalism through Direct Action and Viable Strategies.” The Western Hemisphere’s theme is “Migration: Approaches to Root Causes, Instability, and Support to Displaced Populations,” Europe/Eurasia’s is “Defending Democracy by Preventing Disinformation and Extremism,” and Africa/MENA’s is “Providing Peace and Security through Understanding and Reconciliation.”
The McCain Global Leaders Program has very exciting in-person and virtual components planned so that participants can keep working and stay with their families, although there are still some uncertainties surrounding in-person events due to COVID. The in-person events include:
- The Leadership Experience in the United States: This experience brings together all participants on the sidelines of the annual McCain Institute Sedona Forum in Sedona, AZ., and in Washington, D.C. This 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.
- The Changemaker Tour: This is a mid-program regional tour in leaders’ regional host country — there’s one tour for each region’s leaders — resulting in four regional trips. This will be a shorter trip, five days. Each Changemaker Tour will be focused on exposure to the thematic area for that region, and the agenda will be designed to help leaders forge highly relevant regional connections and networks.
- The Legacy Experience: This will bring together all 25 program participants for seven days in a country significant to Senator McCain, the first one being in Vietnam, and will reflect Senator McCain’s journey as a leader. This experience will facilitate impactful cultural experiences that allow the leaders to reflect on their time in the program and begin to plan for how they will take their experience and apply it to become changemakers in their home country. This will also allow leaders time to share their individual guiding principles and how they plan to incorporate them in the future. The program will conclude with an introduction into the alumni community.
After my experience working on the launch of the McCain Global Leaders Program, I now have a new career path that I am interested in – leadership. As I mentioned before, I never connected that issues I’m passionate about are partly “solved” or made better through effective and character-driven leadership. I now know that the world of leadership is definitely a place I want to continue to be in and contribute to. The McCain Global Leaders program is vital in this day and age to further various leaders’ aspirations in making the world a better place — I cannot wait to see the effects of this leadership program!