Programs + Awards

Next Generation Leaders

McCain Institute for International Leadership Next Generation Leaders

Today, even highly successful modern democracies such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, are in need of strong, character-driven leadership to meet aggressive challenges to democratic societies the world over.  In its mission to strengthen U.S.- Baltic tries, the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF) has established a partnership with Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership in supporting such leadership development.

Over a three-year period from 2017 through 2019, each year, BAFF is sponsoring an established mid-career leader from either Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania in participating in the highly acclaimed McCain Institute Next Generation Leaders (NGL) program.

The NGL Program at the McCain Institute empowers emerging global leaders through the Institute’s tailored professional development experience. The program offers a unique blend of professional development, exposure to top-level policymakers and formal training in leadership. At four junctures throughout the year, the program provides hands-on training focused on values, ethics and leadership, media and communications skills; and best practice examples of American business, political and civic life. The highly selective program carefully screens and admits up to 20 participants annually out of hundreds of applications.

A key aspect of the program is each NGL’s preparation of an individual Leadership Action Plan (LAP). Aimed at defining the tangible steps and actions the NGLs will take to bring about positive change in their home communities, the LAP becomes the central project of the development year.  LAPs represent the character-driven leadership vision of each individual NGL and do not reflect positions of the Baltic American Freedom Foundation or the McCain Institute.

The first NGL beneficiary of the BAFF-McCain Institute partnership is Latvian parliamentarian Ilze Vinkele. She is hosted for her professional development experience at the International Republican Institute in Washington, D.C.


Vinkele is a former member of Parliament of the Republic of Latvia and the former Minister of Welfare. She is passionate about promoting democratic values and reducing inequality.

Vinkele has implemented several significant public sector reforms, such as raising the retirement age, reforming mental-health institutions and defending the rights of LGBT individuals. She chairs the Education, Culture and Science Committee, where she works to amend higher education laws. With political participation low across Latvia, Vinkele seeks to engage more citizens in the nation’s political process.

For further information about BAFF – ASU McCain Institute Leadership Development partnership contact:


Ilze Doskina
Regional Program Director, Baltic States
Baltic-American Freedom Foundation
CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange
Valdemara Centrs
21 Kr. Valdemara Str. Riga, LV-1010, Latvia

Tel: +371-67035370

Laura Lyons
Director, Enterprise Foundations
Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)
300 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101 USA

Tel: +1-207-553-4130

The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University

Garrett Schori
Program Manager
Phone: +1 202 601 4298