Apply Now: McCain Global Leaders Program

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The McCain Institute is seeking applications from character-driven leaders from around the world to advance each Leader’s personal and professional leadership journey and impact by providing training, resources, and access to highly relevant regional and global networks with the goal of preparing today’s leaders to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

Structured as a 12-month fellowship and immersive learning experience, each cohort will include a diverse group of 25 leaders from around the world who are working “in the arena” to advance democracy, human rights, and freedom.

Thematic Focus Area
  • 2024 Global Theme: Defending Democracy
  • To adapt to and meet the needs of an ever-changing and complex global environment, the McCain Institute will determine a thematic focus area and recruit participants who work on relevant issues related to each theme.  Throughout the 12-month program, the Leaders will participate in programming that is both regional and global with the goal of connecting them to a highly relevant and targeted professional peer group in their home region, as well as a broader and diverse network of global peers.
  • In response to the growing threat that democracy, human rights, and freedom are under around the world, the 2024 McCain Global Leaders Cohort will focus on defending democracy. There are few greater challenges to the global community than the threats posed to democracy through the rise of authoritarianism, disinformation, polarization, violent extremism, and conflict. Throughout 2024, Leaders will explore the primary challenges to democracy, as well as analyze and learn about solutions related to ensuring the future stability of democracy around the world.
  • Following in the footsteps of Senator John McCain’s legacy of being on the front lines of defending and advocating for democracy, freedom, and human rights, Leaders will embark on a journey that will help provide them with the tools needed to be champions of democracy in their home country and region.
Cost Covered
  • Participants will receive a stipend meant to cover incidental expenses incurred throughout the program. However, the direct costs of participation in the program (economy class travel, hotels, visas) will be fully covered by the McCain Institute. There will be no cost of participation other than the time commitment that MGLs make to participate in programming.
What are the expectations of a MGL for the program year?
  • MGLs are required to be present during all program modules that occur in-person and virtually. They anticipate a total of 25 days of in-person programming, spread out through three different travel experiences. They also anticipate having a 6-8 hour time commitment each month for virtual programs. There will be some work and reflection required outside of the in-person and virtual programs, but they are mindful of the fact that MGLs will be active professionals and they will make all efforts to ensure that the program can been done while maintaining an active professional and personal life.   
  • MGLs must adhere to and sign a code of conduct. The code of conduct requires all MGLs and affiliates of the program to act with respect, character and professionalism throughout all correspondence, in-person programs and virtual programs.
  • MGLs are required to familiarize themselves with entry requirements for host countries. They will also need to obtain entry visas on their own and in a timely manner.
  • If MGLs violate the code of conduct or are not meeting the requirements of the program, they may be removed from the program at any time.
  • MGLs will be welcome to but not required to pursue individual or collaborative professional projects inspired by their participation in the program. The McCain Institute will offer support to help any projects or collaborations that participants create. Upon completion of the program, MGLs will be welcomed into an active and responsive alumni community.
Eligibility Criteria
  • The McCain Institute selects target sectors and issues that are specific to each program year. Applicants from all countries and professional backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants should be mid to senior- career professionals, possess working proficiency in English, and actively work on the focus issue areas of the program.  Aspiring McCain Global Leaders (MGLs) should work in a leadership role in their field, and actively be “in the arena” striving to enact change in their home communities. Applicants should be committed to serving a cause greater than oneself and should be invested in full participation in virtual engagements, in-person programs and post program alumni activities. There is no minimum educational requirement.
  • Participants should have at least 5 years or more of career experience. There is no specific age requirement, however, typical MGLs range from 25 to 45 years old. Past participants have come from a variety of sectors. They have included members of parliament, government ministers, journalists, medical doctors, activists, NGO leaders or managers or academics.

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