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The Sedona Forum 2018

View the Sedona Forum 2018 participant list

FRIDAY, April 20, 2018

Disruption, Disinformation & Democracy

Cyber-attacks, “fake news,” social media targeting, hyper-politicization, and raw geo-politics have combined in ways that challenge the very foundations of democratic societies. What is happening, why is it happening, and what can we do about it?

  • Anne Applebaum, Professor of Practice, London School of Economics, and Washington Post Columnist
  • Eric Schmidt, Technical Advisor, Alphabet, Inc.
  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Senator, Rhode Island

Moderator: Jamie Fly, Senior Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States

The Sedona Leadership Dinner
Musical performance by Polyphony

Welcome by President of Arizona State University Dr. Michael Crow, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Cindy McCain

  • Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Trustee, The McCain Institute for International Leadership
  • Mike Pompeo, Director, CIA
Sneak Preview: HBO Documentary

Introduction by documentary producer Teddy Kunhardt

McCain (working title) is an upcoming HBO documentary that tells the iconic life story of John Sidney McCain, III. The film is narrated by the Senator along with his family, friends and many of the politicians he has worked closely with over the years. The film includes original interviews, newsreel and television footage, iconic photographs and home movies. What emerges is a very personal portrait of an American hero. McCain is directed and produced by Peter Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt and George Kunhardt (Emmy® winning Jim: The James Foley Story).

SATURDAY, April 21

Defending America Amid a World of Threats

McCain Institute Trustee and former Senate Armed Services Committee member, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, engages U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis in a wide-ranging discussion about the threats facing America today, and our preparedness to meet them.

  • Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Trustee, The McCain Institute for International Leadership
  • Sec. James Mattis, U.S. Secretary of Defense
The War on Terror: Can We Win?

Nearly 17 years after al Qaeda attacked New York and Washington, the War on Terror continues.  Are we winning?  What have we learned? How have terrorist threats – and America’s responses – evolved? As the enemy continues to morph, can the threat of terrorism ever be eliminated?  Or must we simply become smarter about managing it?

  • Sen. Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senator, Alaska
  • GEN Raymond Thomas, Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command
  • Frances Townsend, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Government, Legal and Business Affairs, MacAndrews & Forbes, Inc.
  • Frank Archibald, Senior Advisor, Crumpton Group
Russia: Now What?

In February, Russian contract soldiers attacked U.S. forces in Syria. In March, Russia used a chemical weapon on British soil to kill a former Russian spy. The latter led to expulsions of Russian diplomats from the West, and Western diplomats from Russia – exactly at the time that President Vladimir Putin renewed his grip on power until at least 2024. What can the Russian people, neighboring countries and the rest of the world expect from another six years of Putin’s rule? As Russia continues to abuse human rights, attack and imprison opponents, deny basic political rights and freedoms, and occupy the territory of its neighbors, what should be the proper response of the West? Can we avoid a new Cold War? Should we?

  • President Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia
  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Founder, Open Russia
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator, Minnesota
  • Amb. Kurt Volker, Executive Director, The McCain Institute for International Leadership
Human Rights: Advancing America’s Interests

Introduction by Roman Sacharov, McCain Institute Human Rights Defender

The West was founded on values – the belief that all have the fundamental right to pursue freedom. Yet in recent years, the American public and some of its elected officials have drifted from the notion that such freedom should be advanced not simply at home but throughout the world. The panel makes the case that promoting human rights and democracy is not simply right from a moral standpoint; it is also paramount to pursuing the United States’ long-term strategic interests, from economic prosperity to national security.

  • Michael Abramowitz, President, Freedom House
  • Vladimir Kara-Murza, Vice Chairman, Open Russia
  • Sen. Ben Sasse, U.S. Senator, Nebraska
  • Sarah Margon, Washington Director, Human Rights Watch
Presentation for the Award for Courage and Leadership to the White Helmets

Introduction by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Trustee, The McCain Institute for International Leadership

Award Presentation: 

Cindy McCain, Chair, The McCain Institute Human Trafficking Advisory Council

  • Raed Al Saleh, Head, Syria Civil Defence, the White Helmets, with translation by Kenan Rahmani, Advocacy Campaigner, The Syria Campaign
The Sedona Humanitarian Focus: A Conversation between Mrs. Cindy McCain and Ashton Kutcher

In 2009, Ashton Kutcher c0-founded what would later become Thorn, a non-profit dedicated to leveraging technology for good: to stop the sale and abuse of children online. In the years since, by building partnerships among tech companies, law enforcement and NGOs, Thorn has had an outsized impact on disrupting the digital spaces used to exploit children. Cindy McCain, a leading voice in the fight to end trafficking, speaks with Kutcher about Thorn’s progress and what remains to be done to fight this heinous crime.

Introduction by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Senator, North Dakota

Conversation with:
  • Ashton Kutcher, Founder, Thorn
  • Cindy McCain, Chair, The McCain Institute Human Trafficking Advisory Council
Middle East: Future of Borders

America’s immediate goal in the Middle East is to destroy ISIS. But then what? Do Syria and Iraq remain unified states? Who leads them and how? What is the role of Iran? Or Saudi Arabia? Is Turkey part of the solution or part of the problem? In this unpredictable landscape, is there an American strategy, and can it work?

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senator, South Carolina
  • Mary Beth Long, Co-Founder and Principal, Global Alliance Advisors, LLC
  • GEN (Ret) David Petraeus, Partner, KKR, and Chairman, KKR Global Institute

Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Next Generation Technology for National Security

As the threats to the United States continue to grow and change, new technologies are also emerging that can re-invent the way we think of providing national security. Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow leads a discussion with key innovators and national security leaders on the role of emerging technologies in solving America’s security challenges.

  • Sen. Jeff Flake, U.S. Senator, Arizona
  • Glenn Gaffney, Executive Vice President, In-Q-Tel
  • Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America
  • Dr. Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University
Strategic Philanthropy

From Andrew Carnegie to Bill Gates, philanthropists have been leaders and change agents in education, the arts, healthcare, poverty reduction, foreign assistance and many other areas when governments lagged or lacked the initiative. They are groundbreakers, trailblazers and most importantly, risk takers. Their positive effect and influence on societies cannot be underestimated and strategic philanthropy is as important today as it was a century ago. This panel of philanthropists explain their personal and organizational experiences about investing in the future and how they determine their priorities for impact.

  • Lady Lynn de Rothschild, Chief Executive Officer, E.L. Rothschild, and Chairman and Co-Founder, Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism
  • Larry Fitzgerald, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals
  • Josette Sheeran, President and CEO, Asia Society
  • Randy Newcomb, President, Humanity United

SUNDAY, April 22

Informal Networking Breakfast

The McCain Institute wishes to acknowledge and thank the following contributors for their generous support of The Sedona Forum 2018

  • APS Foundation
  • Pivotal Foundation
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Daimler
  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky
  • PetSmart
  • Quarles & Brady LLP
  • Salt River Project
  • Greater Phoenix Economic Council
  • Greater Phoenix Leadership