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McCain Institute Welcomes 26 New McCain Global Leaders

Diverse group of 26 leaders from 25 countries begins new fellowship

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The McCain Institute at Arizona State University is proud to announce the inaugural cohort of McCain Global Leaders. Comprised of 26 leaders, speaking 24 languages, from 25 countries and five continents, the McCain Global Leaders will participate in a 10-month fellowship aimed at continuing the legacy of Senator McCain’s character-driven leadership.

The diverse and highly accomplished 2022 cohort is made up of leaders working “in the arena” in a variety of public sector, private sector, military and NGO positions that are all connected to a thematic focus area for each region. The regional themes include migration, defending democracy, peace and security, and sustainability.

The entities represented by the 2022 McCain Global Leaders cohort include the Parliament of the Republic of Guatemala, International Justice Mission, the United Nations Development Programme, Brazil’s judiciary, Romania’s Chamber of Deputies, North Macedonia’s Defense Ministry, among many others.

See the entire 2022 McCain Global Leaders Cohort here and below.

  • Hibo Abdi- Head of Programs, Network Against FGC, Somaliland
  • Mohanad Adnan- Founder, Roya Development Group, Iraq
  • Zyh Akumawah- Founder and Medical Director, Easy Health, Cameroon
  • Reham AlSaidi- Analyst Programmer, UN Relief and Works Agency, Palestine
  • Dulamkhorloo Baatar- Co-Founder, Nest Center for Journalism Innovation and Development, Mongolia
  • Lemona Chanda- Founder, OurCause, Bangladesh
  • Nino Dolidze- Executive Director, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, Georgia
  • Jean Edwidge- Teacher & Co-Founder, HAITI Migration Group, Haiti
  • Wubrest Fantahun- Legal Officer, UNHCR, Ethiopia
  • Ina Filote- Advisor, Romania Chamber of Deputies, Romania
  • James Gough- Founder & CEO, OneShot, United Kingdom
  • Raquel Grünauer- Head of Office and Advisor, Andean Parliament, Ecuador
  • Elmas Hasanovikj- Advisor, Cabinet of the Minister of Defense, North Macedonia
  • Hana Kerkebane- Activist, Algeria
  • Nate King- National Director of U.S. Advocacy, International Justice Mission, United States
  • Colonel Hennadiy Kovalenko- Staff Officer, Strategic Allied Command Transformation HQ, Ukraine
  • Mariia Levchenko- European Director of Outreach and Training, River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, Ukraine
  • Angelina Makore- Founder & Coordinator, Spark R.E.A.D., Zimbabwe
  • Samah Mansur- Program Director, Communication Techniques for Development-ACT, Egypt
  • Tomas Martinaitis- Deputy Mayor, Akmene District Municipality, Lithuania
  • Etiene Martins- Federal Judge, Brazil
  • Baccus Roberts- Executive Director for Compliance, Liberia Electricity Corporation, Liberia
  • Laura Rwiliriza- Communications Specialist, Rwanda
  • Charlie Shandil- Executive, Australian Public Service, Australia
  • Ferth Vandensteen- Deputy Manager, The Climate Reality Porject, The Philippines
  • Andrea Villagrán- Member, Parliament of the Republic of Guatemala, Guatemala

Members of the McCain Global Leaders Advisory Council made the following remarks during a kick-off event for the new McCain Global Leaders Cohort: 

“I am so energized and so grateful that we have this group coming together, particularly at this moment and time in history,” said McCain Institute Executive Chairman and Co-Chair of the McCain Global Leaders Advisory Council Josette Sheeran. “We searched the world – over 700 applicants – to find leaders who had proven leadership within their venues, within their issues, and within their geography at an early stage in their career. These leaders embody the spirit of Senator McCain and represent the next generation of character-driven leadership.”

“I got to know [Senator McCain] after the 2008 election, enough to know how inspired he would be, as I am, by the array of young leaders from around the world who will be part of this great cohort that has been assembled. I’ve read your biographies and am in awe of the things you have achieved. I’m excited about the things you will achieve in the future,” said David Axelrod, director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago and McCain Global Leaders Advisory Council member. “I’m convinced that this group is a group that really understands the importance of character, the importance of values and the importance of standing firm on those values that can’t be compromised.”

“We are here because we share, and we are committed to the values that Senator John McCain held close to his heart and to his life,” said Jean Sung, executive director and head of the Philanthropy Centre for J.P. Morgan and McCain Global Leaders Advisory Council member. “We are here because we share in the commitment to serve beyond self, embracing security and stability, transparent public institutions, promoting international mindfulness, nurturing the next generation to be compassionate global citizens.”

“There are a lot of organizations here in Washington, D.C., that promote democracy, freedom, rule of law but [the McCain Institute] is the only institute that carries the name of John McCain,” said Kateryna Smagliy, First Secretary at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, DC and McCain Global Leaders Alumni Advisory Board member. “This is our great responsibility because we now follow in his footsteps to present and bring to the world the ideas and the character-driven leadership that Senator McCain presented.”

The McCain Global Leaders Program is steered and advised by two councils of high profile leaders: the McCain Global Leaders Advisory Council and the Alumni Advisory Board.

The bipartisan McCain Global Leaders Advisory Council is comprised of 19 proven leaders from five continents who have effected major change around the world. The Alumni Advisory Board is comprised of graduates of McCain Institute leadership programs, such as the Next Generation Leaders program. See the entirety of both the Advisory Council and the Alumni board here.

About the McCain Global Leaders Program
Structured as a 10-month fellowship and learning experience, each cohort of the McCain Global Leaders Program will include a global selection of roughly 25 leaders who are working “in the arena” to advance democracy, human rights and freedom. The non-residential program, which includes both in-person and virtual programming, is designed to advance each participant’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. Learn more here.

About the McCain Institute at Arizona State University
Inspired by Senator John S. McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute is fighting to secure democracy and alliances, defend human rights, protect the vulnerable and advance character-driven leadership, both at home and around the world.

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.



Publish Date
March 29, 2022