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McCain Fellowship for Freedom

About the Fellowship

The McCain Fellowship for Freedom (MFF) will bring together a cohort of young leaders from around the world to the U.S. for a two week exchange with policy makers, thought leaders, American entrepreneurs, and others to gain insights and build networks necessary to fostering resilient democracies rooted in economic freedom. The MFF will encourage peer-to-peer learning, provide targeted training, and cultivate a generation of changemakers who are building more inclusive, transparent, and resilient democracies powered by free markets. The Fellowship honors the spirit and legacy of 25-year IRI Chairman Senator John McCain, a passionate advocate of democracy around the world and former Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, who believed that “free markets are not possible without free people.”

The McCain Fellowship is currently accepting nominations through February 21, 2020. Nominate someone now:

About the Fellows

McCain Fellows are rising leaders between the ages of 21 and 35 who are committed to the promotion of political and economic freedom in their countries. They have a proven track record of leadership and accomplishment in challenging environments. They embody the potential for transformational impact in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. Through this program, these emerging leaders will be brought into IRI’s global network across more than 100 countries, leveraging their training and contacts to catalyze their contributions to free societies.

U.S.-Based Activities

During their visit to the United States, the McCain Fellows will visit:

Washington, DC
To meet with U.S. lawmakers, policymakers, public policy thinktanks, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders to glean insights into the drivers of economic and civic dynamism in the United States, and how these are connected to broader global struggles pitting democracy against autocracy and statist control against free markets

To meet with leaders in the U.S. tech industry and Fortune 500 companies that are defining new frontiers for citizen empowerment, youth engagement, and economic transformation.

Participants will complete Leadership Enhancement Action Plans (LEAPs) to inform their personal goals as part of the exchange. Upon their return home, Fellows will be invited to stay in touch via a closed Facebook group with current and future MFFs. They will also be invited to join Generation Democracy, IRI’s flagship youth program that incubates a global network of young leaders committed to democratic change and renewal. Through this ongoing engagement, McCain Fellows will sustain their participation in IRI’s global network of transformational young leaders committed to democratic and economic openness in their countries.

Generation Democracy

IRI is building on the momentum generated by young leaders across its regional programs through Generation Democracy.

Launched in 2015, Generation Democracy is a global network of more than 500 youth across 70 countries. Through the network, young changemakers can share ideas and best practices and access skills-building workshops, webinars and professional development opportunities to help advance positive change in their communities and countries.