Now entering its sixth year, Friends of Europe is pleased to announce the first names from the 2018 class of the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme.
A talented and diverse group of young European change-makers, this group does not fall short of vision, passion or action and among the first names to be revealed you’ll find a naval officer, an investigative journalist, an award-winning musician, a planet discoverer, tech pioneers and leading young politicians. More names are to be revealed in the coming weeks.
Meet some of our newest Young Leaders:
Guillem Anglada-Escudé, Spain
Guillem Anglada-Escudé 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.
Sebastien de Halleux, Belgium
Chief Operating Officer of Saildrone
Sebastien de Halleux is the COO of Saildrone, a company designing wind and solar powered ocean drones aiming at revolutionizing data collection at sea. He is also a founding partner of Graph Ventures, an early stage angel fund with a portfolio of over 100 start-ups. Sebastien co-founded Playfish, which was one of the largest and fastest growing social gaming companies with over 300 million players, before being acquired by video game giant Electronic Arts (EA) in 2009.
Cristina Fonseca, Portugal
Co-Founder of Talkdesk
Cristina Fonseca is a software engineer and tech entrepreneur, who co-founded one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing companies, Talkdesk. a platform that allows anyone to quickly create a call centre online. Previously, Cristina has worked as a researcher at INESC-ID, a Portuguese non-profit institution conducting advanced research in electronics, energy, telecommunications and information technologies. Cristina is passionate about Artificial Intelligence and the impact of technology, and advises early-stage start-ups.
Dionysis Grammenos, Greece
Award-winning conductor, soloist and Founder of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra
As one of the most charismatic conductors of his generation, Dionysis Grammenos made his debut at the age of twenty-one with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Since then, he has been awarded with several honours and was the first Greek to receive a Conducting Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival. By the age of twenty, Dionysis had won European Young Musician of the Year Prize and had been featured on a Greek postage stamp. This young virtuoso has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Cité de la Musique in Paris and the Barbican Centre in London and has worked with orchestras such as the Vienna Symphony and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, among others.
Daire Hickey, Ireland
Managing Partner at 150 Bond & Co-Founder of the Web Summit
Daire Hickey is the Managing Partner at 150 Bond, a strategic advisory firm, and one of the co-founders of the Web Summit, Europe’s largest tech start-up event and the largest technology conference in the world. In this role, he has facilitated a number of tech conferences in the United States and Europe. Daire is also a former journalist, who has worked for the Irish broadcaster RTE and several Irish newspapers. Daire is an active angel investor and a member of several company advisory boards.
Helena Linder-Jess, Germany
First Commanding Officer in the German Navy
As the first woman as First Commanding Officer in the German Navy (FGS Datteln), Helena Linder-Jess has participated in several international missions under the United Nations and NATO with her crew. In this role, she has been responsible for all issues concerning her ship, crew and assignments, including extensive training and combat cycles. Helena is the first woman ever to take over the command of a German navy ship.
Roberta Metsola, Malta
Member of the European Parliament
Roberta Metsola is one of Malta’s first female Members of the European Parliament, belonging to the European People’s Party Group (EPP). Lawyer by training, Roberta currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Petitions and contributes to several other parliamentary committees and delegations. Two-time MEP award winner for her work on justice and civil liberties, Roberta was selected to host the awards 2017 edition.
Bastian Obermayer, Germany
Bastian Obermayer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning German investigative journalist with the Munich-based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), and the reporter who received the Panama Papers ‒ over 11 million documents containing compromising financial information on several public figures ‒ from an anonymous source. Bastian recently initiated and coordinated the release of the Paradise Papers, 13 million documents related to off-shore investments.
Claudia Olsson, Sweden
Founder & CEO of Exponential AB
Claudia Olsson is the Founder and CEO of Exponential AB, a global consultancy with a focus on digital transformation. Claudia has helped governments and businesses alike to understand the impact of new technologies and has provided smart solutions to addressing global challenges. She is the author of the Sweden 2030 Future Scenario for the Government of Sweden. Claudia has previously worked on issues related to healthcare access, setting up think-tank ACCESS Health International that aims to provide location-independent high-quality care for everyone.
Lia Quartapelle, Italy
Democratic Party Leader
As a Democratic Party Leader in the Italian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, Lia Quartapelle has been one of the rising stars of Italian politics. In her work, Lia focuses on human rights, developing economies and Africa, and has worked for the Mozambique Government as an economist and policy development analyst.
Led by Friends of Europe, each year the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme brings together talented, established leaders, aged 40 and under, who have made their mark in a wide range of fields such as politics, science, business, media, NGOs, the arts and civil society. You can find more information about the programme in the EYL40 overview. The programme was originally conceived with EuropaNova.