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Leaders Convene in Sedona to Discuss Global Crises and Opportunities

WASHINGTON (April 23, 2018) – Top government, business, human rights, humanitarian, university and student leaders, joined by U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle, convened for the sixth annual Sedona Forum held April 20-22, 2018 by the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University in Sedona Arizona.

Participants at the Forum included senior Trump administration officials Secretary of Defense Mattis and CIA Director Pompeo; U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Dan Sullivan, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Sasse, Heidi Heitkamp, Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham; and many distinguished leaders from around the world.

The McCain Institute kicked off the Forum Friday evening with former Senator Joe Lieberman moderating a dinner conversation with Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, and secretary of state nominee. Saturday’s sessions started with a conversation between Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and McCain Institute trustee and former Senator Kelly Ayotte.

Cindy McCain presented the McCain Institute’s 2018 Courage and Leadership Award to the Syrian humanitarian relief group of volunteers, the White Helmets. Known for the color of the helmets they wear during search-and-rescue operations, the Syrian Civil Defence is a group of nearly 3,000 volunteers who provide humanitarian relief to all Syrians in area where they are permitted to operate, based on the values of neutrality, impartiality and humanity.

The Saturday luncheon discussion featured Cindy McCain, with Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of Thorn, a non-profit organization dedicated to stopping the sale and abuse of children, with a special emphasis on disruptive technology to accomplish that goal. Cindy McCain is a leader in the crusade to stop human trafficking and leads the McCain Institute’s programs in this area. Through Cindy McCain, the McCain Institute partnership with Thorn has resulted in identifying almost 6,000 victims of human trafficking.

“The challenges and threats the United States currently face around the world can only be confronted effectively when there is open dialogue and shared goals. That is why the Sedona Forum is so important to us both, and frankly, why it was created,” said Senator John McCain and Cindy McCain in their letter welcoming this year’s participants.

“The Sedona Forum lets national and international leaders build relationships and size up solutions in a way our hyper-charged information and political environment too often prevents,” said Ambassador Kurt Volker, who has served as Executive Director of the McCain Institute since its inception in 2012. More than 200 participated in this year’s Forum from around the world to explore strategies that can resolve conflict, save lives and improve opportunities for all communities.

Every year, the Sedona Forum brings to Arizona influential military, political, humanitarian, academic and human rights leaders for a weekend of discussions centered on leadership and advancing U.S. national security and foreign policy. The next Forum will be held in May 2019.

View the full agendaspeakers and list of participants.

About the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University

Guided by values that have animated the career of Senator John McCain and the McCain family for generations, ASU’s McCain Institute is a non-partisan, do-tank dedicated to advancing character-driven global leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity – in the United States and around the world. The Institute seeks to promote humanitarian action, human rights and democracy, and national security, as well as embrace technology in producing better designs for educated decisions in national and international policy.

Learn more about the McCain Institute at