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The Sedona Forum 2019


4:00 pm – 4:50 pm: Shining City on a Hill? Democracy Promotion in the Age of Authoritarians

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the free world faces an unexpected challenge: authoritarianism is rising. Russia and China have presented alternative models of governance – call it “authoritarian capitalism,” or “managed democracy” – that are repressive, but which seem to produce power, wealth and global influence. These models are inspiring other authoritarians around the world and even gaining admirers even in free societies, while the world’s established democracies are divided internally and building walls externally. Can democracy pull itself together and once again emerge as an enviable model

Introduction by Vladimir Kara-Murza, Chairman, Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom

  • Senator Martha McSally, U.S. Senator, Arizona
  • Representative Tom Perriello, Executive Director, U.S. Programs, Open Society Foundations
  • Daniel Twining, President, International Republican Institute
  • Josette Sheeran, President and CEO, Asia Society
4:50 pm – 5:30 pm: Innovation to Eliminate Modern Slavery

There are 40.3 million people enslaved around the world today. The international community has committed to ending modern slavery by 2030 as part of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving this goal will only happen through purposeful partnerships, large-scale research and technological breakthroughs. This conversation will focus on how leading organizations are harnessing the value of big, open source data (including satellite imagery) and developing innovative technologies so that we may one day fully embrace the truth that labor must not be forced and that people are not for sale.

Introduction by Julie Cordua, CEO, Thorn
  • Dr. Doreen Boyd, Associate Director, The Rights Lab, University of Nottingham, U.K.
In conversation with:
  • Kristen Abrams, Senior Director, Combatting Human Trafficking, McCain Institute for International Leadership
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Welcome Reception
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm: The Sedona Leadership Dinner

Welcome by Governor Doug Ducey, State of Arizona
Welcome by Dr. Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University
Native American blessing by Aaron White
Tribute to Senator John McCain by Jack McCain

Keynote Conversation:
  • Governor Doug Ducey, State of Arizona
  • Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security
In conversation with:
  • Frances Townsend, Executive Vice President at MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings
8:45 pm – 9:30 pm: Night Owl – Brexit: Now What?
  • Ambassador Alexandra Hall Hall, Brexit Counselor, British Embassy
  • Dr. Ted Bromund, Senior Research Fellow in Anglo-American Relations in The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, The Heritage Foundation
  • Ambassador Kurt Volker, Executive Director, McCain Institute for International Leadership


7:00 am – 9:00 am: Open-Air Breakfast Buffet
8:15 am – 9:00 am: The Crisis in Venezuela

Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s most stable and prosperous democracies, but has spiraled downward on all fronts at a dizzying pace after years of neglect by the autocratic regimes of Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro. Since Chavez’s death and Maduro’s assumption of power, Venezuela’s economy has contracted every year since 2014; political and civil liberties have been ravaged, and corruption has run rampant. Over three million Venezuelans have left their country. On January 23, 2019, President of the National Assembly Juan Guaidó declared himself the interim president based on constitutional grounds. Now, Venezuela stands at critical crossroad, faced with the prospects of rebuilding its economy and social fabric or continuing down a destructive path.

Introduction by Elisa Massimino, Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School

  • Fabiana Rosales de Guaidó, First Lady of Venezuela
In conversation with:
  • Elise Labott, Foreign Affairs Journalist
9:00 am – 9:50 am: Global Threats

Cyber offense, information warfare and space-based weapons may be the tools of future conflict among states. But even while these 21st-century technologies are emerging, states are still using 20th-century military means to take territory, defend regimes, dominate neighbors and threaten freedom of movement and trade. Panelists discuss efforts to deal with the old-fashioned threats presented by North Korea, Russia, China, terrorists and more.

Introduction by Senator Jon Kyl, Senior Of Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP

  • Carl Bildt, Co-Chair, European Council on Foreign Relations
  • Dr. Kori Schake, Deputy-Director General, International Institute for Strategic
  • Senator Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senator, Alaska
  • Ambassador John Negroponte, Vice Chairman, McLarty Associates
9:50 am – 10:40 am: Why U.S. Global Leadership (Still) Matters

Since the end of World War II, people and countries around the world have relied on the United States to exercise global leadership. Whether it is because of the U.S. embrace of fundamental freedoms and democratic values, its military dominance, its economic weight, its technological innovation, its humanitarian concern or simply the inspiration of a free society, the United States has been the fixed point on the compass for friends and foes alike. This U.S. leadership has, in turn, shaped a global order that favors democracy, prosperity and security. But with the rise of other powers and uncertainty over U.S. leadership, other actors are recalculating their behavior. For America’s allies, this is a dangerous trend. How is the rest of the world reacting to changes in U.S. leadership, and why does such leadership still matter today?

Introduction by Senator Jeff Flake, Former U.S. Senator, Arizona
  • Milo Đukanović, President of Montenegro
  • John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Senator, Rhode Island
  • Senator Kelly Ayotte, Trustee, McCain Institute for International Leadership, and former Senator, New Hampshire
10:40 am – 11:20 am: Coffee Break
11:20 am – 12:10 pm: Geostrategic and Economic Implications of the Race to 5G

The fourth-generation industrial revolution is producing innovations that will dramatically change the way we live, work, play, prosper and defend ourselves. Transformational technologies such as advanced robotics, autonomous vehicles, remote surgery and machine-to-machine communications all share a common backbone – secure 5G wireless networks. This expert panel will discuss the geostrategic stakes of the global race to 5G and how the innovations it spawns will impact society, international relations, national security and defense.

Introduction by General (Ret.) James Jones, USMC, President, Jones Group International
  • Terry Halvorsen, CIO/EVP B2G, Samsung Electronics
  • Mike Stone, Global Head of Technology Transformation for Infrastructure,
Government & Healthcare, KPMG
  • Kiersten Todt, President and Managing Partner, Liberty Group Ventures, LLC
  • Dr. Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University
12:10 pm – 12:20 pm: Presentation of the Award for Courage and Leadership

Presented to: Chhaya Sharma, Deputy Inspector General, National Human Rights Commission of India
Presented by: Cindy McCain and Harry Sloan

12:20 pm – 1:30 pm: “A Cause Greater Than” Discussion: Addressing the Global Refugee Crisis

According to UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency, we are witnessing the highest levels of human displacement in history: 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from their homes. They flee violence, war, famine, persecution and a host of other horrific conditions. Beyond the human suffering, the consequences of these refugee flows are also strategic, affecting everything from Brexit and the future of the EU, to stability in Southeast Asia, conflict in the Middle East and politics in the United States. Can we turn the tide on the refugee flows, protect people and build better governance, prosperity and security to prevent future migrations? How?

Introduction by Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Former U.S. Senator, North Dakota
  • Senator Chris Coons, U.S. Senator, Delaware
  • Jacquelline Fuller, President,
In conversation with:
  • Cindy McCain, Chair of the Board, McCain Institute for International Leadership
1:40 pm – 2:30 pm: Future of U.S. Foreign Policymaking

The past several years of U.S. foreign policy can be characterized in many ways: “consistency” is not among them. U.S. foreign policy has swung from the “global war on terror” and interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, to “reset,” retrenchment and a “pivot” to Asia to “America First.” This era, too, will end. But what will come next? Who are America’s future foreign policy leaders, and what kind of foreign and national security policy will America pursue in the coming years? Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle debate the direction of U.S. foreign policy in 2020 and beyond.

Introduction by Dan Twining, President, International Republican Institute
  • Senator Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senator, South Carolina
  • Representative Will Hurd, Congressman, Texas 23rd District, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Representative Tom Malinowski, Congressman, New Jersey 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Josh Rogin, Columnist, Washington Post
2:30 pm – 3:20 pm: Navigating The Challenges of Online Content Policy: From Election Interference to ISIS

The internet presents a world of opportunities – including to groups with hateful and dangerous intentions. Terrorist groups like ISIS have used the online environment to recruit and propagandize. Russia has weaponized information to influence our politics. Hate speech is deliberately used to create political discord and motivate would-be domestic terrorists. How can we interrupt this malicious use of the internet? Where should the line be drawn between government and private sector responsibility? What more can technology companies do to prevent their platforms from being used to promote social discord, hatred and violence?

Introduction by General (Ret.) David Petraeus, USA, Chairman, KKR Global Institute
  • Kristie Canegallo, Vice President of Trust and Safety, Google
  • Nick Rasmussen, Senior Director of Counterterrorism and National Security, McCain Institute for International Leadership
  • Joshua Geltzer, Executive Director, Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy & Protection
3:20 pm – 4:10 pm: The 2020 Campaign

“It is tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Yogi Berra was not talking about the 2020 election, but he may as well have been. Was the 2016 election a harbinger of things to come, or an anomaly? Have the divisions in U.S. society, amplified by cable news and social media, fundamentally changed presidential politics? What does a successful campaign look like in this populist and digital age? To what degree should we be concerned about outside influence? Are concepts like “unity” and “civility” still realistic? Two strategic minds who led past presidential campaigns discuss the road ahead.

Introduction by Mark Salter, Writer
  • David Axelrod, Director, The University of Chicago Institute of Politics
  • Rick Davis, Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Pegasus Capital Advisors
  • John Dickerson, CBS News Correspondent and Contributing Editor to the Atlantic Buses depart for the Ranch at 5 p.m. from the Meeting Village.
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm: Barbeque Dinner at McCain Ranch
  • Welcome by Mrs. Cindy McCain, Senators Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse

Buses depart every 15 minutes from the Ranch to the Enchantment Resort beginning at 8 p.m.


7:00 am – 9:00 am: Informal Networking Breakfast

The McCain Institute wishes to acknowledge and thank the following contributors for their generous support of The Sedona Forum 2019

  • APS Foundation
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Arizona Community Foundation
  • The Burton Family Foundation
  • Daimler
  • Freeport-McMoRan
  • PetSmart
  • The Phil Stephenson Foundation
  • Pivotal Foundation
  • Quarles & Brady LLP
  • Salt River Project
  • Greater Phoenix Economic Council
  • Greater Phoenix Leadership