The IRI McCain Fellowship for Freedom (MFF) will bring together a cohort of young leaders from around the world to the U.S.

Since 2019, the McCain Fellowship for Freedom (MFF) brings together a cohort of young leaders from around the world to the United States for an 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 encourages peer-to-peer learning, provides targeted training, and cultivates a generation of political 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 application for the 2023 fellowship can be found below and will be open from December 19, 2022 to January 20, 2023.

If you have any difficulties accessing the application, please reach out to Meryl Miner, Senior Manager for Youth and Inclusion at

McCain Fellows are rising leaders between the ages of 21 and 40 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 are brought into IRI’s global network across more than 100 countries, leveraging their training and contacts to catalyze their contributions to free societies.

Fellows complete Leadership Enhancement Action Plans (LEAPs) to inform their personal goals as part of the exchange to the United States. Upon their return home, IRI facilitates opportunities for the Fellows to stay connected with past, current, and future McCain Fellows. Through this ongoing engagement, McCain Fellows sustain their participation in IRI’s global network of transformational young leaders committed to democratic and economic openness in their countries.


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