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 in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future.
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.
Aaron runs the Malta Freeport, which was established in 1988 as the first transhipment hub in the Mediterranean. The company has experienced remarkable growth and currently ranks twelfth among the top European ports. Aaron served as president of the Labour Youth Forum and was elected deputy mayor of Ta’ Xbiex in 2005. During the international financial crisis, he was appointed to a team of economic experts set up by the Young European Socialists and was elected as Education Secretary in the Maltese Labour Party’s Central Administration. Aaron also chaired the progressive think tank IDEAT, the party’s political foundation. In 2014, he founded the Anton Buttigieg Foundation, which seeks to promote social awareness in Malta, focusing on education as the primary tool for economic and social development.
Adele is an expert in strategic cognitive skills, advanced theory of mind, and applied physics. Her research focuses on operators in time-limited, life-critical, restricted communication environments and how they employ Theory of Mind (ToM) in their mission. Adele’s previous experience includes working as a NASA Flight Controller/Astronaut Instructor, in which role she provided support for over 90 US Space Shuttle, International Space Station (ISS), and Russian spacewalks, and trained five Shuttle crews and two ISS increments in Extra Vehicle Activity (EVA). In addition to her current work as a Research Affiliate at MIT, she has also recently been appointed by the United States of America as a technical team member to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Science and Technology Organization through its Collaborative Support Office.
Agnija is an award-winning choreographer and dancer. She is the author of more than 20 choreography works, including dance films, installations and performances. Her compositions have been performed at dance festivals both in her native Lithuania and abroad. Agnija successfully collaborates with creators of various art forms, resulting in dance pieces that feature audio-visual art and sculpture installations. Along with choreographing, Agnija gives lectures at Klaipeda University and runs the dance company PADI DAPI Fish. She was named Best Choreographer of the Year in 2012 and in 2013 was awarded the Golden Cross of the Stage, the highest Lithuanian theatre award. Her most recent show, ‘Dior in Moscow’, was presented at the International Contemporary Dance Festival ‘New Baltic Dance’.
Alessandro is a former Advisor to the Italian Economic Development Minister on European Affairs, Innovation and Youth, and former Head of Office at the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. Previously he was an official at the Council of the European Union dealing with global economic governance (G20/IMF). He has worked for the Italian Prime Minister’s office in Rome as part of the G8 team, as well as for the Italian Ministry of International Trade. He teaches at the LUISS Guido Carlo School of Government in Rome and at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. He was until recently President of RENA, the Italian association of young professionals promoting innovation, merit, youth empowerment and a new generation of local public policies. He is also the author of two novels.
Alex Budak is a serial social entrepreneur, Executive Director of the UC Berkeley Center for Reinventing Leadership, and a firm believer that anyone can be a changemaker. Alex co-founded, and now advises, StartSomeGood.com which has helped 700+ social impact organizations in 50+ countries raise $7M+. He is a mentor, coach and adviser to social entrepreneurs around the world, most recently running Scandinavia’s leading social impact incubator, Reach for Change, in Stockholm, Sweden. Alex has given talks on the topics of leadership and social innovation in venues ranging from Ukraine to Cambodia; LA to the Arctic Circle; and at both the World Bank and White House. His writing has been published in FastCompany, The Guardian and Huffington Post.
André Loesekrug-Pietri is French-German, held leadership positions in private equity, government, industry and as an entrepreneur.
He has been appointed Special Advisor to the Minister of Defense in the first Government of President Macron, responsible for European Defense policy, as well as technology and disruptive innovation. Previously, he was Chairman of ACAPITAL, investing in fast-growing European companies with strong global potential, in particular in Europe and China. Previously André led several investment funds in Europe and Asia, founded CarBoulevard.com, was assistant to the CEO of Aerospatiale-Airbus in Toulouse and started his career at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. Graduate of HEC, the Michigan Business School and Harvard Kennedy School, he attended Sup-Aéro aerospace engineering school. Frequently invited as a speaker on disruptive technologies, he is member of several boards as well as on the advisory board of Jiaotong University, Beijing. André was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and is a European Young Leader (2012). He is a private pilot and Colonel with the French Air Force People’s Reserve.
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.
Anita is an award-winning media critic and the founder of Feminist Frequency, an educational non-profit that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives. Her work focuses on deconstructing the stereotypes and tropes associated with women in popular culture as well as highlighting issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spaces. Sarkeesian has featured in publications such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Rolling Stone and The Wall Street Journal. She was named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in 2015 and was the recipient of the 2014 Game Developers Choice Ambassador Award. Sarkeesian has spoken to TEDxWomen, XOXO Festival and the UN Broadband Working Group on Gender. She also appeared on The Colbert Report discussing her experiences of harassment and improving gender inclusivity in gaming culture and the media.
Antonia is a Hungarian journalist, television presenter, author and documentary filmmaker. She has interviewed just about every EU politician that visited Hungary in recent years. She hosted Hungary’s main evening current affairs programme from 2007 to 2011, but was forced to leave the national public broadcaster MTV, along with thousands of colleagues after the new government “reorganised” public broadcasting and has been working at ATV, an independent news channel ever since. Antonia has participated in charitable projects and literacy campaigns aimed at helping the Roma population. For the last few years she has also been asked to head a Hungarian foundation recognising and rewarding journalistic achievements and organising events and workshops for media professionals. She is an English Literature graduate from ELTE University in Budapest.
Over the past ten years, Aoibhinn has promoted mathematics and science with a particular focus on encouraging more girls to study these subjects. She lectures at University College Dublin as part of a programme that addresses the growing need for qualified mathematics and science teachers in post-primary schools. In 2011, she was awarded the prestigious Ussher Fellowship from Trinity College Dublin for her doctoral thesis on mathematics teacher learning. Named as one of the Top 50 Women in Science in Ireland by Silicon Republic, she is renowned for her role as a science communicator and for promoting STEM subjects in Ireland through various media outlets, including radio and TV. In 2005, she won the Rose of Tralee contest, an international festival celebrated by Irish communities all over the world.