ASU Insight: 2015 Highlights – The McCain Institute

General Mark Welsh, USAF

General Mark Welsh, USAF


Published on Jan 11, 2016

Next Generation Leaders

In 2015, The McCain Institute hosted its third class of Next Generation Leaders – 12 remarkable individuals from 12 countries. Each NGL works at a unique placement site in the United States to continue his or her professional development, while working on an individualized Leadership Action Plan to guide his or her actions going forward after the program year. Placement sites include: Intel Corporation, The Bush Institute, the Office of Kansas City Mayor Sly James, Dignity Health and International Refugee Committee.

Next Generation Professionals

Through our Next Generational Professionals program, The McCain Institute trained five women from the Democratic Republic of Congo in character-driven leadership and election skills. Upon their return to the DRC, the NGPs trained more than 200 women, using the leadership and political campaign tools provided by The McCain Institute and our partner in the project, the International Republican Institute. Of the five NGP program participants, three plan to run for public office – two locally and one nationally.

Humanitarian Action

The McCain Institute for International Leadership sponsored the inaugural Sex Trafficking Awareness Week at Arizona State University in January 2015, reaching more than 20,000 students, faculty and staff. This has led to the launch of a nation-wide Student Alliance against trafficking, which is raising awareness at campuses across the country.


In 2015, The McCain Institute obtained record levels of online engagement, with a 47% increase in the number of active users on Through social networks, The Institute reached 300,000 users on Facebook, 17.47 million impressions on Twitter, and a 56% increase in followers on Twitter.


The Institute doubled the number of public events it sponsored in 2015 as compared with 2014. A new summer series, Conversation & Cocktails, expanded The Institute’s audience – particularly with young professionals – though several guided conversations with The McCain Institute’s senior directors.

The McCain Institute also partnered with a wide variety of organizations to expand The Institute’s growing network, including Google, Polaris, Thorn, Rights4Girls, Freedom House, New America, The Woolfe Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy and The Pacific Council for International Policy.

The Sedona Forum

The Institute hosted the third annual Sedona Forum. Key speakers included: former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, GE Chairman and CEO and McCain Institute Board Member Jeff Immelt, Zin Mar Aung (a former McCain Institute Next Generation Professional who has subsequently been elected to Parliament in Burma), and actress and Thorn Co-Founder Demi Moore. Arizona Coyotes’ Shane Doan and Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald provided Leadership Lessons through Sports.

Human Rights and Democracy

The Human Rights and Democracy Working Groups produced six nonpartisan, substantive papers aimed at informing the 2016 presidential campaigns on human rights. The topics included: Advancing Freedom Promotes U.S. and Why It's Important for U.S. Foreign Policy, Arguments for Freedom – Making the Case and Answering the Critics, and specific papers devoted to supporting human rights in Egypt, China and Iran.

Policy Design Studio

The McCain Institute taught foreign policymaking to 23 ASU students in its Spring and Fall semester classes. Students were assigned to play the roles of various officers at a U.S. Embassy abroad as a way of teaching both the real-life substance of U.S. foreign policy and the critical analytical and bureaucratic implementation skills needed to function in a professional Embassy environment.