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Western Hemisphere McCain Global Leaders Complete Changemaker Tour in Guatemala

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 12, 2024) — The McCain Institute at Arizona State University recently led a delegation of McCain Global Leaders (MGL) to Antigua and Guatemala City, Guatemala. The visit follows a tumultuous year in Guatemala that ultimately saw a strong defense of democratic norms, led by thousands of young activists and values-driven political leaders.

This was the last stop of the 2023 MGL’s in-person programming, spanning six days in Guatemala. The delegation included six MGLS that make up the Western Hemisphere cohort, representing four countries: Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and the United States. It also included Global Advisory Council Member and McCain Institute Board Member Elisa Massimino and was led by assistant director for global leadership, Scott Nemeth.

“Democratic values and processes faced significant threats over the last year in Guatemala, but ultimately prevailed in dramatic fashion thanks to the bravery and activism of the Guatemalan people. Guatemala now serves as an example for the world to see that democracy can defeat authoritarianism and corruption,” said Scott Nemeth, assistant director for global leadership at the McCain Institute. “Our delegation had the opportunity to meet with those individuals and organizations that stood on the frontlines in the defense of democracy and human rights. Through these interactions our McCain Global Leaders were inspired by lessons they can take back and implement in their home countries and throughout the Western Hemisphere. It is vital that the international community continue to acknowledge this recent transformation in Guatemala in order to learn from it and support democracy in the years to come.”

The 2023 MGL program theme of defending democracy underscored the meetings and activities on the trip. Members of the delegation met with partner organizations including the International Republican Institute Guatemala, the Office of Human Rights of the Archbishop of Guatemala, Instituto 25A, International Justice Mission Guatemala and The Presidential Commission on Open Government.

The McCain Institute designed an enriched and integral agenda full of various perspectives of the Guatemalan landscape, including civil society, government, indigenous communities, and constitutional law,” said Lourdes Argueta, a pro-democracy activist from El Salvador and 2023 McCain Global Leader. “It was truly a unique dive into the fight for democracy and human rights, under the framework of the Guatemalan experience – an ideal changemaker tour for someone who’s visiting the country for the first time or who has been many times before.”

The group also met with presidential advisors at El Palacio Nacional de la Cultura, the President of El Congreso de la República de Guatemala, Nery Ramos, as well as 2022 McCain Global Leader and Guatemalan Congresswoman Andrea Villagran.

The 2024 cohort of McCain Global Leaders will be announced mid-June. To learn more about the program and participants, follow along on the McCain Institute’s MGL Webpage, or on Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter).

Publish Date
June 12, 2024