McCain Global Leaders Program 2023 for Emerging Leaders (Fully-funded to the US)

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McCain Global Leaders Program 2023 for Emerging Leaders (Fully-funded to the US). Apply below!

Application Deadline: 15th January 2023

To be taken at (country): The program is 10 months long and begins in early February and runs through late October. Participants are expected to participate in all virtual and in-person programs for the entire program year.

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About the McCain Global Leaders Program: The McCain Global Leaders Program supports character-driven leaders from around the world who embody Senator John McCain’s legacy of serving a cause greater than oneself.  Structured as a 10-month fellowship and experiential learning experience, each cohort will include 25 diverse leaders from around the world who are working “in the arena” to advance democracy, human rights and freedom. The program is designed 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.

A Regional and Global Approach:

To adapt to and meet the needs of an ever changing and complex global environment, the McCain Institute will determine a thematic focus area for each region in the world and recruit participants who work on relevant issues related to each theme.  Throughout the 10-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.

2022 Regional Themes: 

  • Western Hemisphere: Migration: Approaches to Root Causes, Instability and Support to Displaced Populations
  • Europe and Eurasia: Defending Democracy by Preventing Disinformation and Extremism
  • Africa and Mena: Providing Peace and Security through Understanding and Reconciliation
  • Asia and Oceania: Sustainability and Environmentalism in Support of Stability, Security and Human Rights

Connecting Leaders from Around the World:

Leaders are selected through a competitive, open recruitment process.  There will be 25 leaders per annual cohort broken into 4 regional groupings.  Though there is no age requirement, leaders will likely be between the ages of 25 and 40.  Leaders should possess a strong track record of serving a cause greater than oneself as well as experience working directly on the regional theme.  The McCain Institute emphasizes diversity in the form of gender, ethnicity, persons with disabilities, political viewpoint, economic background and education.

Type: Training/Fellowship

Eligibility: Applicants should be mid-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.

Number of Awards: 20

Value of McCain Global Leaders Program: 

  • The McCain Institute provides each NGL a stipend that covers all standard living costs for a year. Each participant receives the stipend amount monthly, covering expenses such as rent, utilities, food and any other regular costs;
  • The stipend amount varies depending on the cost of living in the participant’s placement city. Added to the stipend is travel allowance that NGLs may use for professional travel in support of their LAP’s during the program year;
  • The overall stipend is separate from the program related cost, such as travel to and from leadership training modules, module lodgings, and per diem for the duration of program modules are covered by The McCain Institute separately;
  • Per visa regulations The McCain Institute also covers health insurance and workers comp.
  • Following the initial training and coaching module in Washington, NGLs depart for their placements sites across the United States to professionally develop in areas relevant to their future goals while providing a broadening experience. All placement sites are chosen by The McCain Institute.

Duration of McCain Global Leaders Program:

Leaders will participate in three memorable in-person events, which will be enhanced by online learning which includes expert-led practical skills training and an integrated leadership development curriculum which is inspired by Senator McCain’s legacy and emphasizes peer-mentoring and group problem-solving.

The McCain Leadership Curriculum:  Throughout the program, Leaders participate in a curriculum that is administered both online and in person.  The curriculum is designed to incorporate lessons and experiences from Senator McCain’s life, to reinforce and augment in-person engagements and to focus on community building and group problem-solving.  A central tenet of the curriculum is a dynamic peer-mentorship model, through which the Leaders support each other’s journeys directly.  The curriculum will help each leader chart their own journey as a changemaker while also imparting real world skills that will assist leaders as they take on some of the most difficult challenges facing their home country and region.

Spring 2023

The Leadership Experience (Sedona, Arizona and Washington, D.C.): The first in-person event of the program, the Leadership Experience, brings together all participants on the sidelines of the annual McCain Institute Sedona Forum in Sedona, AZ., and in Washington, D.C.  The 10-day long program exposes leaders to the principles that guided Senator McCain’s leadership approach and connects them with experts in their core thematic areas and with key decision-makers.  Leaders will also work together and with experts to establish their own leadership philosophy and goals.

Summer 2023

The Changemaker Tour (Host Country in Each Region):  The second in-person event of the program convenes each regional cohort for five-day regional study tours that provide exposure to that region’s thematic area in a host country and focuses on developing targeted regional connections and networks, while providing the opportunity to discuss solutions and ideas related to the theme.  Leaders will be encouraged, but not required, to explore regional professional collaborations – the McCain Institute will actively support any resulting collaborations.  There will be one Changemaker Tour for the participants in each respective region.

Fall 2023

The Legacy Experience (Vietnam):  The capstone program of the 10-month journey will, for a second time, bring all Leaders together in a country of significance to Senator McCain’s own leadership journey. The Legacy Experience will take place in Vietnam and examine the journey and relationship between Senator McCain and the people of Vietnam.  During this seven-day trip, Leaders will convene to reflect on their experience during the program, share how their own leadership philosophies have evolved, explore professional collaborations, outline the next steps of their leadership journey and learn about the resources that they can access as program alumni.

How to Apply for McCain Global Leaders Program: 

It is important to go through the FAQs for further information before applying.

Visit Program Webpage for details


  • Ifeoma Chuks is a naturally-skilled writer. She has written and contributed to more than 6000 articles all over the internet that have formed solid experiences for particularly aspiring, young people around the globe.

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