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McCain Institute Announces Leadership Transition

WASHINGTON, DC (October 7, 2019) — The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University releases the following statements on behalf of Ambassador Kurt Volker and Board Chair Mrs. Cindy McCain:

Statement by Ambassador Kurt Volker

“For the past seven and a half years, I have worked hard with Mrs. Cindy McCain, Arizona State University, and the McCain Institute’s first-rate team of trustees and staff to build an Institute dedicated to advancing character-driven leadership and making difference in the real world on a wide range of issues. Today, I informed ASU President Crow and Mrs. McCain that I believe the recent media focus on my work as the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations risks becoming a distraction from the accomplishments and continued growth of the Institute, and therefore, I am stepping down as executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership. I know the Institute is well equipped with a first-rate team of staff and trustees to continue its progress in the future. I especially want to thank Cindy McCain and the McCain family for their selfless support of the institute.”

Statement by Cindy McCain

“I want to thank Kurt Volker for his dedication and hard work in helping to build the McCain Institute into the results-driven, action-oriented institution that it is today. We are proud of these accomplishments, and I especially appreciate his dedication to my husband and the entire McCain family. The executive committee of the trustees has asked Fran Townsend to serve as trustee representative to the Institute to coordinate the transition to a new executive director. Senior Director for National Security and Counterterrorism Programs and Professor of Practice at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Nick Rasmussen has been asked by ASU leadership to serve as acting executive director pending selection of a new executive director. Rasmussen joined the Institute in May 2018 after a distinguished career in government service, working in senior national security positions under both Democratic and Republican administrations.”


About the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University

Inspired by the leadership of Senator John McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute implements programs and initiatives aimed at making a difference in people’s lives across a range of critical areas: leadership development, human rights, rule of law, national security, counterterrorism and combatting human trafficking.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute is proudly part of ASU, the largest public university in America– ranked #1 in innovation for five years running.


Learn more about the McCain Institute at

Publish Date
October 7, 2019