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.
Edvard is a Chartered Scientist specialising in understanding environmental and social impacts of development projects around the world. His most recent work has focused on mitigating negative impacts to align mining projects in Kazakhstan with international standards. Edvard is also affiliated with the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute, where he lectures on sustainability issues and corporate social responsibility. He has previously held a number of roles at the interface of science and society, having worked at the European Geosciences Union and the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. He holds MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Oxford and undergraduate degrees from the University of St Andrews and McGill University.
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.
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).
Emily is a former Green President of the Walloon Parliament, a position she hold between 2009 and 2012. Very early in her career she was elected President of the Federation of Francophone Students, a student organisation, and then became Political Secretary to the Belgian French Community’s Minister of Children, Jean-Marc Nollet. She also worked within several organisations and local associations, such as the Ligue des Familles. In 2009, she was elected to the Walloon Parliament and, six weeks later, she became its President. Emily is one of the youngest and most well-known politicians in Belgium.
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.
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.
Eva is the youngest EPP Group member in the European Parliament. She sits on the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, where she works to reduce barriers to economic trade and simplify legislation to enhance competitiveness across the Single Market. In 2015, she was named the European Parliament’s best newcomer by the Parliament Magazine. Before the 2014 elections, Eva supported the leadership of her Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party in fostering and maintaining contacts with political leaders across Europe. In Bulgaria, she helped set up education programmes such as Education Bulgaria 2030, which aims to connect young people with employers. Eva was awarded, at the age of 17, the Queen of Light Santa Lucia award by the Swedish Embassy in Bulgaria for young social leadership.
Ewa runs the largest entertainment and media retailer in Poland. In this position, she combines her love of books and her managerial experience in consumer goods companies. She previously worked for eight years at McKinsey & Company, where she became the first woman in Poland to be promoted to the position of Global Partner and to lead the retail and consumer goods division. During her career, Ewa has overseen the UK’s largest chocolate brand, Cadbury, and developed the Schwarzkopf brand portfolio in international markets. She also worked as a Product Manager in the Polish branch of L’Oréal. She successfully helped companies to develop strategies, improve operational efficiency and optimise sales.
Fabian founded the leading German couponing company DailyDeal in 2009, acquired by Google in 2011. To date he still leads DailyDeal together with his co-founder and brother. In private, he invests as a business angel in technology start-ups through his holding Heilemann Ventures. Before founding DailyDeal, Fabian worked for various German law firms and as a business consultant for Booz & Co. Prior to that, he passed the First Bar Exam of the State of Hamburg with distinctions and submitted a PhD-thesis in Corporate Law at Heidelberg Law School. He was a visiting student at Santa Clara University and Stanford University, CA, USA and founded the Entrepreneurs Club at Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, Germany.
Fadi is the face of the new Middle East. As Senior Campaigner at Avaaz, an international online campaigning network, he has been promoting numerous campaigns on issues such as human rights, poverty and conflict, becoming an unofficial leader of the Electronic Intifada. Quran is also a Popular Struggle community organiser, a policy member of the Al-Shabaka Palestinian Policy Network, and is a leading figure in the burgeoning Palestinian youth movement committed to achieving freedom, justice and dignity for the Palestinian people, having previously served as UN Advocacy Officer with Al-Haq’s legal research and advocacy unit. Apart from his work in advocacy and international law, he is also an entrepreneur in the alternative energy field, where he has founded two companies bringing wind and solar energy power to Palestine and other countries in the region.