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.
Inés started her career in the private sector working for an industrial services company. In 2010, she attended a Ciudadanos rally with a friend and joined the party shortly afterward as the youth section spokesperson. In 2012, she was elected to the Catalonian Parliament as deputy spokesperson. She sat on the Committee on Business and Employment where she focused on socio-economic issues, such as the fight against inequalities and unemployment. Throughout her mandate, she was actively involved in different programmes at local, regional and national level. In 2015, she was appointed Leader of the Opposition as Ciudadanos climbed to second place in the Catalan parliamentary election
Eneko is a leader in international cuisine. In 2007, he opened his now-renowned restaurant Azurmendi in the Basque country. Within five years, the restaurant – located in the beautiful town of Larrabetzu – had been awarded three Michelin stars. Azurmendi was named Most Sustainable Restaurant in the World by the World’s 50 Best in 2014 and as number two on Elite Traveler’s 2016 list of the best restaurants in the world. Eneko has a creative mind, skilled hands and a work ethic based on care, precision and speed. His intense cuisine is deeply rooted in the local Basque identity. He has been named Champion Young Chef in Spain and Best Chef of the Year by the prestigious French gourmet club Fourchettes.
Dionysia-Theodora is a former Member of the Hellenic Parliament and Deputy Head of the Environmental Policy Sector in the New Democracy Party. She is a leader in environmental and humanitarian activities internationally and has been the recipient of several international awards, including the ‘Global Citizenship Award for Leadership in Assisting Humanity’ by Orphans International Worldwide, and the ‘Green Star’ Award by UNEP/OCHA/Green Cross International for her voluntary assistance in areas affected by natural disasters. She is Co-Founder and President of the European Institute of Law, Science & Technology and an attorney who specialises in International and Environmental Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Dawood is one of the most promising young journalists and scholars of his generation in the UK. He has been working for the BBC World Service in London as a Senior Broadcast Journalist and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster, where he teaches Globalization, Power and International Governance. He joined the BBC in 1998 and also worked as the BBC World Service Bureau Chief and Editor in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was also a visiting scholar at Ohio State University, USA. He holds three Bachelor's and three Master's degrees, including Science, Law, International Relations and Diplomacy. In 2010, Dawood became the youngest person to ever win the biggest award in the BBC, the “Global Reith Award for Outstanding Contribution”. He is also a poet/writer, calligrapher and painter/artist.
Born in Damascus, Tammam started his career in Syria as a painter and a graphic designer and has since participated with his works in solo and group exhibitions around the world. Following the start of the uprising in Syria, he turned to digital media and graphic art to create visual composites of the conflict that resonated with international viewers. These widely distributed works are informed by his interest in the interventionist potential of digital photography and street art as powerful and direct forms of protest that are difficult to suppress. In early 2013, Tammam made worldwide headlines when his Freedom Graffiti print went viral on social media.
Ricardo is best known as a Member of the Portuguese Parliament representing the Social Democratic Party. He is also a medical doctor with specific training in infectious diseases, having studied at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Medical School, and has an active role on a number of scientific and advisory boards of health-related foundations and organisations – including his role as Head of Public Health at the Catholic University of Portugal. Combining his expert medical knowledge and political career, Riccardo worked towards a PhD in Public Health/Health Management at Maastricht University. Since his election in 2011, the Portuguese-Canadian citizen has expanded his focus beyond health issues and currently serves as Coordinator and Permanent Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee as well as President of the Portugal-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group.
Cristina is Founder, CEO and Head of Design at Musette, one of the leading fashion accessory companies in Romania. The brand is present all over the world, with stores in Paris, New York, Luxembourg, Beirut, Budapest, Bulgaria and Israel. In 2004, Cristina was named one of Romania’s “Top Successful Women” and obtained the Oskar Capital award in the “Promising Entrepreneur of the Year” category. In 2005 she launched a new brand, Cristhelen B, exclusive property of Musette. In 2011, she received the prestigious Entrepreneurship Prize at the Business Woman Gala and was named one of the 100 Romanian Successful Young Managers of the Year. She is also Founder of the Arena Leilor Foundation and a member of the International Dinners Club.
Terry is an accomplished and experienced entrepreneur and advocate for access to education and the expansion of entrepreneurship. He entered public service in 1999 when he was elected to the Nanaimo City Council, becoming British Columbia’s youngest-ever elected official. A former Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, Terry is the author of The In-Credibility Factor, which highlights his desire for Canada to become a global leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. Terry was the founder and CEO of HiretheWorld.com and of Twinbro, a non-profit organisation that has helped over 25,000 students obtain millions of dollars in scholarships and financial aid. He is a past board member of Lift Philanthropy and worked with entrepreneurs to launch and grow businesses at Beech Partners.
Imen Ben Mohamed is a Tunisian politician representing the new face of the moderate Islamist party Ennahda (“Renaissance” in Arabic) in both the Maghreb Shura Council and the Assembly of the People’s Representatives where she holds a seat in the Rights, Freedom, and Foreign Affairs Committee. Her education in Italy, where her family lived in exile, and strong commitment to youth and family policies have made her a rising political star in a country still struggling to define itself in the increasingly turbulent landscape of the MENA region. Ben Mohamed is a strong supporter of dialogue between cultures and religions.
Benedek Jávor is an active environmentalist and founding member of the Dialogue for Hungary party (PM). Prior to joining the European Parliament, he was an elected member of the Hungarian National Assembly and the leader of the Hungarian opposition party Lehet Más a Politika (Politics Can Be Different). As a former professor and lecturer on environmental law, Jávor founded the environmental Védegylet (Protect the Future), in order to “raise awareness on global environmental threats” and has authored several articles and publications on sustainable development.