McCain Fellowship for Freedom 2023 for Young Leaders (Funded to the U.S.)

Deadline: January 20, 2023

Applications are open for the McCain Fellowship for Freedom 2023. The International Republican Institute’s (IRI) McCain Fellowship for Freedom (MFF) will bring together a cohort of young political leaders from around the world for a virtual and in-person programme.

As part of the programme, fellows will visit the United States 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.” 

Programme Component

McCain Fellows will be required to actively participate in a several-month programme, including, but not limited to, the components outlined below: 

  • Attend six virtual sessions aimed at providing targeted assistance with skills related to policymaking, communication and advocacy.
  • Attend a 10-day in-person programme in the United States to meet with and learn from leaders in the governmental, non-governmental and private sectors. The programme will take place in Washington, D.C. and a second city in the United States.  
  • Implement an advocacy initiative in the fellow’s community to share lessons learned from the virtual sessions and in-person exchange.  
  • Attend a virtual closing summit to reflect on the Fellowship programme.
  • Engage with other fellows, including from the previous iteration of the MFF programme, through virtual networking sessions and platforms.


IRI will select eight young leaders who represent different regions, sectors and gender identities based on the following criteria: 

  • Between the ages of 21 and 40; 
  • Not a U.S. citizen;
  • Proficient in English;
  • Possesses robust experience in politics, government and/or private sector, with a preference for individuals with cross-sectoral experience; 
  • Demonstrates a proven history of and passion for advocating for democratic and free market reform; 
  • Maintains a position of authority and leadership within their current career and community. 


All applicants are required to submit a letter of nomination for their participation in the McCain Fellowship for Freedom. The nominator should be someone you know well in a professional context who can speak to your qualifications for the Fellowship.

Specific points to highlight in the nomination letter: 

  • How applicant has promoted democratic resiliency and free market principles within their community; 
  • How the applicant has demonstrated their leadership capacity and protentional to be a political changemaker within their community; and 
  • How the applicant is uniquely positioned to be an exceptional McCain Fellow and how will the Fellowship benefit their development as a political changemaker. 

The nomination letter should be no more than one page and written in English.

Click here to apply

For more information, visit Fellowship-for-freedom/” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>McCain Fellowship for Freedom.