European Young Leaders


What do a microbiologist, an entrepreneur, a journalist and a Member of Parliament have in common?

They are all European Young Leaders who are engaged in making Europe a global champion for a better world.

The European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme, organised by Friends of Europe, is a unique, inventive and multi-stakeholder programme that aims to promote a European identity by engaging the continent’s most promising talents and initiatives.

The programme is supported by renowned and solid foundations such as the Fondazione Cariplo and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation.

The European Young Leaders represent promising European leadership from all over the continent, with a wide variety of backgrounds including politics, business, civil society, academia, arts, science and the media.

Every year, they meet for two three-day seminars in symbolic European cities, joined by decision-makers, stakeholders and key European actors to discuss issues of common concern and develop concrete proposals and recommendations to tackle the challenges facing Europe and its citizens.

The European Young Leaders now represent a network of more than 180 alumni.


The programme was initially conceived with EuropaNova, a Paris-based think-tank.

Meet the European Young Leaders
Jamila Aanzi
Business economist, UN Women’s Representative

Jamila has positioned herself as one of the leading innovators in the fields of youth involvement and social outreach in the Netherlands. She has participated in numerous programmes aimed at encouraging cooperation between diverse backgrounds and envisioning a new social and political vision. In 2017, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, appointed Jamila as Dutch women’s representative at the United Nations. As a senior international trainer for the Max van der Stoel foundation she trains political parties and politicians in Eastern Europe, the Middle-East and North-Africa. Jamila is an alumni of several international leadership programs like the Israeli ‘future European leaders’ program and the US state department’s ‘international visitors leadership’ program.

Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar
Co-Founder & Artistic Director at Polyphony Foundation, MENA Delegate

A gifted violinist and visionary champion for youth and community development, Nabeel has led and inspired people from all walks of life across Israel, Europe and the U.S. He performed with, and was a spokesperson for, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for a decade as well as performing as a soloist with the Jerusalem Camerata and the Haifa Symphony orchestras. In 2006, Nabeel gave up his music career and returned to his hometown, the Arab-Israeli city of Nazareth, where he founded and led the Barenboim-Said Conservatory—now known as the Polyphony Conservatory—to answer the need he saw in the community for quality music programming. Nabeel has been awarded the Yoko Ono Award for Courage in the Arts for his lifelong-commitment to fostering a sense of community between young pan-Arab and Jewish musicians

Seif Abou Zaid
Founder & Chief Executive Officer Mavericks International School, MENA Delegate

Seif is a social and policy entrepreneur, passionate about education and its relationship to governance. Seif co-founded the Agency for Development and Enhancement, which provides training for young people, and the Nabadat Foundation, a non-profit which aims to use technology to improve education to fight poverty and enhance political awareness. Seif is also the former CEO of Tahrir Academy, a blended learning platform that creates intellectually-stimulating learning experiences for more than 160,000 registered Egyptian and Arab learners. In 2015, he founded the Mavericks International School, which seeks to leverage innovative teaching methods and technology to develop the unique potential of its students.

Alberto Alemanno
Professor of EU Law & Risk Regulation HEC Paris, Founder of The Good Lobby

Alberto is one of the leading experts in the areas of EU law and policy, risk regulation and global health, teaching EU Law and risk regulation at HEC Paris. He founded ElabEurope a civic start-up, lobbying for the European public interest by filling the gap between academic thinking and reality and also “The Good Lobby”, a pro-bono network. Previously, he clerked at the Court of Justice of the EU and at the European General Court. Alberto received the prestigious Chauncey Starr Award from the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) in 2011 for outstanding achievement by a young risk analyst in science and public policy. He received the 2013 ECTA Award for the Best Paper in Trademark Law.


Elena Alfaro Martínez
Global Head of Data and Head of Innovation, BBVA

Elena is a manager at the BBVA Group Innovation unit, where she leads the Big Data/Smart Cities Global Initiative aimed at creating new urban services based on smart data and information management. For this, she has obtained international recognition through various publications in the media. She has played an active role in the development of telecommunications in EMEA and LATAM in the business development area, and subsequently expanded her career as an expert in the field of innovation. Elena holds a degree in Economics & Business Management from the University of Madrid and a BA in Business Studies from the University of Sunderland in the UK.

Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo
President, Libres e Iguales

Cayetana is a former Member of the Spanish Parliament (2008- 2011) and Vice-President of the Joint Committee for the European Union and a Member of the Justice and Constitutional Committees. She was also Deputy Speaker for the Partido Popular of Madrid and Director of the International Department of FAES Foundation. She was awarded the Silver Microphone of the Spanish Professional Association of Informants of Press, Radio and Television for her articles published in El Mundo. She holds a BA and a PhD in History from Oxford University.

Ines Amri
Deputy Secretary-General Maghreb Economic Forum, MENA Delegate

Ines has been the Deputy Secretary-General of the Maghreb Economic Forum since November 2015, as well as being a founder and the current Vice-President charged with fundraising and projects of the Organisation Volonté et Citoyenneté, a Youth-led NGO in Tunisia that seeks to promote human rights and social entrepreneurship projects. A passionate social entrepreneur, Ines is also co-founder and team leader of an initiative called Med Voices, a free, independent platform for creative voices from the banks of the Mediterranean, working for social justice and social change. Ines served as a member of the International Jury of the Plural+ Video Festival, hosted by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 2013, and was nominated by the US Embassy in Tunisia to represent Tunisia in the 2014 International Visitor Leadership Program : The Role of NGOs in Promoting Global Women’s Issues.

Guillem Anglada-Escudé

Guillem is a well-known astrophysicist and scientist, who discovered the Proxima-b exoplanet orbiting Proxima-Centauri, our closest neighbouring star. He has conducted research in several countries and has been actively engaged with space agencies, such as NASA and the European Space Agency. In 2016, Nature magazine chose him as one of the ten most prominent scientists world-wide, and the same year he was also listed by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Eleni Antoniadou
Co-Founder of Transplants without Donors and European Young Leader

Eleni has been working on artificial organ technology and regenerative medicine in hospitals across the world. After graduating in biomedicine, she participated in the first successful artificial trachea transplant operation on a late-stage cancer patient. She is also the co-founder of the London-based start-up Transplants without Donors, which aims to develop tissue-engineered organs that are transplanted into sick patients. Eleni also trained NASA astronauts in biomedical experimentation for the International Space Station (ISS). 

Andreas Araouzos
Actor, Director and Producer

Andreas completed courses at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In 2002, he founded a theatre productions company, Alpha Square, to enhance theatre in Cyprus and provide spectators with an inspirational selection of plays. Andreas has already directed 14 stage productions in his country, including several award-winning plays and his own musical-comedy adaptation of Cinderella, which will tour Greece in 2017. Andreas has also written several plays, such as ‘The Rich Also Cry’, which was staged by Theatro Ena in 2007. He has translated numerous theatre texts from English to Greek and published a collection of articles in Phileleftheros, the biggest-selling newspaper in Cyprus.

Open session at the EYL40 Seminar in Warsaw
- 18:15
European Young Leaders
Warsaw Seminar
Time to reclaim the centre stage
- 14:00
European Young Leaders
Tallinn seminar
Future Europe
Lisbon seminar
Future Europe
Selection process

The selection process for the Class of 2018 is closed and we are now in the process of announcing those who have been selected. 
To find out more about the first 20 candidates to be announced as part of the Class of 2018, please click here.

Keep an eye on our website and social media for all updates regarding the programme and news from our Young Leaders!

The next selection process for candidates will open in early 2018.