WASHINGTON, D.C. – The McCain Institute at Arizona State University’s (ASU) McCain Global Leaders (MGL) program completed the first stop of its four-country Changemaker Tour July 18 – 22 in Warsaw, Poland, with a stop in Przemsyl, Poland on the border with Ukraine.
The five-day tour included eight of the 26 total fellows in the 2022 McCain Global Leaders cohort. Participants in the Poland module came from seven countries: Algeria, Georgia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Romania, the United Kingdom and Ukraine.
“By bringing together this group of young leaders, we are sharing the legacy of Senator John McCain with the world and preparing the next generation of character-driven leaders to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. This tour provides our MGLs the opportunity to share their expertise and to see firsthand the conflicts that threaten our democracy,” said Scott Nemeth, McCain Institute senior program manager for global leadership programs.
Activities during the Changemaker Tour centered around the theme of defending democracy, countering disinformation and governmental-civil society partnerships. This included meetings with partner organizations like the International Republican Institute and the Community of Democracies, as well as the Parliament of Poland. Meetings were also held with McCain Global Leaders Advisory Council Members Djordje Todorovic of the National Endowment for Democracy and Hannah Vaughan Jones of CNN International.
Members of the MGL cohort spoke highly of the inspiring experience. Dr. Mariia Levchenko from Ukraine said, “In some way, it was a quest to discover the underlying reasons for the incredible support that Ukrainians received from Poland. We got to brainstorm the ideas of what we, as a first-ever cohort group, could do together.”
“I am determined and ready to continue this path and spread the legacy of Senator John McCain in the Western Balkan Region. Sharing our experience with others is one of the ways to amplify the message and reach a greater audience,” said North Macedonian MGL Elmas Hasanovikj.
The fellows engaged with government leaders, journalists and activists while in Warsaw. They also volunteered alongside World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers at a meal distribution site on the Poland-Ukraine border, which works to provide meals to thousands of refugees each day. This follows an event the McCain Institute hosted with WCK in the U.S. Senate, which highlighted the grassroots defense of democracy and human rights in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.
The next stop on the Changemaker Tour is Johannesburg, South Africa, with the Africa/MENA Cohort of McCain Global Leaders. Follow the Africa/MENA Cohort and their time in Johannesburg on the McCain Institute’s Instagram and Twitter.