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 in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future.

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
Virginia Raggi
Mayor of Rome

Virginia is the first woman to become mayor of Rome after winning the 2016 municipal election with two-thirds of the vote. She is considered as a rising star of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), a party that she joined in 2011, two years before being elected to Rome’s city council. Called a talented debated by the Economist, Virginia vowed to end corruption, introduce a new level of transparency to the Roman government and revamp the city’s failing infrastructure. Virginia fiercely campaigned against the proposed amendment to the Italian constitution in the run-up to the 2016 constitutional referendum. A lawyer by training, she specialises in intellectual property and new technology.

United States
Sam Rasoul
Delegate for the 11th District Virginia House of Delegates, North-American Delegate

Sam currently represents the citizens of Roanoke in the Virginia House of Delegates, being Virginia’s only Muslim legislator. His political ambition is driven by an idea of changing the way politics is conducted by building trust on the left and the right, across political divides, and by improving government services for veterans and seniors in rural areas. Rasoul brings to the position two decades of leadership and management experience gained with both for-profit and non-profit organizations. As Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the International non-governmental organization Kissito Healthcare International, Rasoul worked closely with United Nations Agencies and other government officials to strengthen healthcare systems in East Africa. Rasoul is also a  proven leader in organizational change and serves as a Transformational Change Agent at ENVIGOR where he delivers pragmatic solutions for organizations facing disruption and change in the Digital Age.

Nina Rawal
Head of Life Science, Industrifonden

Nina is Head of Life Science at the Swedish Industrial Development Fund (Industrifonden) where she is responsible for international business development in early life science companies. Prior to this, she was Vice President of Ventures and Strategy at Gambro, a leading global medical technology company. Nina has worked in the academic, non-profit, and government sectors in the USA, France and the UK. Her academic background is in molecular neurobiology and biochemistry, and includes a PhD from the Karolinska Institute. In 2012, she was selected as one of 20 “Rising Talents” worldwide by the Women’s Forum.

Matteo Renzi
Prime Minister of Italy (2014-2016)

Prior to becoming Prime Minister, Matteo was Mayor of the city of Florence, and is the Secretary of the Democratic Party. He has been the face of the new generation of Italian political leaders that desire reform in Italy from the top down and rejuvenation of the Italian body politic. Under his leadership, Florence became the first major city in Italy to adopt the Volumi Zero structural policy, an environmental plan to make the city a greener, safer and more sustainable place to live.

United Kingdom
Emma Reynolds
Member, House of Commons

Emma is a Member of the British Parliament since 2010 and she is currently member of the Committee on Exiting the European Union and served as Shadow Minister for Europe between 2010 and 2013. Prior to becoming an MP, Emma helped to set up a business which supported British companies in understanding and influencing EU laws. She then went on to work for the Party of European Socialists in Brussels as an adviser to Robin Cook. Emma was later appointed as political advisor to Geoff Hoon, in his role as Europe Minister and then Chief Whip. She graduated from Oxford University in philosophy, politics and economics.

Franck Riester
Chairman, The Constructives: Republicans, UDI, and Independents group, French National Assembly

Franck is a Member of the French National Assembly, representing the Seine-et-Marne department as a Member of the UMP Party. He is Mayor of the city of Coulommiers since 2008, where he was also a City Councillor at the age of 21. He is interested in economic development and new technologies, having become one of the main French legislators dealing with the subject of Internet regulation and protection of creative rights. Franck is also a successful businessman, owning several Peugeot dealerships. Re-elected in 2017, he currently serves as Chairman of the "The Constructives: Republicans, UDI, and Independents" parliamentary group.

Dominik Risse
Vice President Colorant Additives Business, Lanxess

Dominik is Global Head of Marketing at LANXESS AG (Leverkusen, Germany), a leading chemical group. Prior to this, he held various management roles in the chemical industry (LANXESS, Bayer) including a nearly 4 year assignment in Southeast Asia. His political record includes activities at both the regional and national levels for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), as well as for the Junge Union and the Wirtschaftsrat Deutschland (the Economic Council of the CDU). Dominik holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Bradford University School of Management and attended INSEAD’s Leadership Programme in Singapore.

Lara Rouyres
Founder & CEO of Selectionnist

Lara is a serial entrepreneur. In 2009, she founded Dealissime, a website providing buyer groups with daily offers relating to products and services for women. By 2011 it had been acquired by LivingSocial, part of the Amazon group. In 2013, she launched Selectionnist, which seeks to bridge the gap between offline content and online experience by allowing users to find any item featured in French fashion magazines through a mobile application. Selectionnist is also a high-performance analytics tool for both advertisers and publishers and is currently working with more than 30 top magazines in France, such as Elle and Marie Claire. The venture raised €2m in seed financing. Lara is also a member of the French Digital Council, which aims to make recommendations on the impact of digital technologies on society.

Time to reclaim the centre stage
- 14:00
European Young Leaders
Tallinn seminar
Future Europe
Lisbon seminar
Future Europe
Future Europe
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.