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Cindy Hensley McCain

2011 Speaker

Cindy Hensley McCain

Cindy Hensley McCain is an accomplished humanitarian with her most recent position on the board of the Eastern Congo Initiative, founded by Ben Affleck. Together, she and Affleck are committed to ending the violence in the Congo, which is having devastating effects on the women and girls of the country.

A native Arizonan, mother of four, and wife of U.S. Senator John McCain, she is known for lending her time and talent to increase awareness of international charity organizations and the work that they do to make the world a better place.

As an advocate for children’s health care needs, McCain founded and ran the American Voluntary Medical Team (AVMT) from 1988 to 1995. AVMT provided emergency medical and surgical care to impoverished children throughout the world. McCain led 55 medical missions to third world and war-torn countries during AVMT’s seven years of existence. On one of those missions, Mother Teresa convinced her to take two babies in need of medical attention to the United States. One of those babies is now their adopted daughter, 16 year old Bridget McCain.

In recent years, two organizations in particular have been the subject of her international focus: HALO and Operation Smile. As a member of the board of trustees for the HALO Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to landmine removal and weapons destruction in war-torn countries, McCain has traveled to numerous countries to see firsthand the impact HALO has had by removing landmines. McCain served on the board of directors for Operation Smile, a non-profit organization whose mission is to repair cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities for children around the world. Since 1982, Operation Smile has provided free reconstructive surgery to over 100,000 children and young adults in 25 countries.

McCain has also traveled extensively on behalf of World Food Programme, visiting mother and child feeding programs in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to her humanitarian work, McCain is the chairman of her family’s business, Hensley & Company, which is one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the nation. Her formal education includes an undergraduate degree in education and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Southern California.