Applications are open for the McCain Global Leaders Programme 2023 (Fully-funded)

Deadline: January 15, 2023

Applications are open for the McCain Global Leaders Programme 2023. The McCain Global Leaders Programme 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 programme 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 goal of preparing today's leaders to meet tomorrow's challenges.

2023 Global Theme: Defending Democracy

In response to the growing threat that democracy, human rights, and freedom are under around the world, the 2023 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 2023, 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 the tools needed to be champions of democracy in their home country and region.


  • Participants will not receive a stipend, but the direct costs of their participation in the programme (economy class travel, hotels, visas, and meals and incidentals) 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.


  • Open to mid-career professionals who actively work on the focus issue areas of the programme. 
  • Though there is no age requirement, leaders are typically 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 global theme of defending democracy;
  • The McCain Institute emphasizes diversity in the form of gender, ethnicity, persons with disabilities, political viewpoint, economic background and education;
  • Possess working proficiency in English.


Be prepared to answer essay questions and have a copy of your resume, and one to two letters of recommendation before proceeding.

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Click here to apply

For more information, see FAQ and visit McCain Global Leaders.

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