European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme - Lisbon seminar

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European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme - Lisbon seminar

Summary

A scientist pushing the boundaries of regenerative medicine; a chef blending tradition, innovation and a commitment to sustainability; lawmakers intent on injecting new life into politics; trailblazing entrepreneurs; fearless campaigners; artists at the top of their game – these were just some of the participants in the European Young Leaders seminar held on 16-18 March in Lisbon and the Atlantic resort of Cascais.

The first gathering of the Class of 2017 was the latest event in the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme. Each year the programme, launched in 2011 by Friends of Europe, brings together 40 of Europe’s brightest minds aged 40 and under to debate challenges facing the continent and search for solutions.

Under the banner of ‘Leadership in an increasingly unpredictable world’, the Lisbon meeting produced three days of intense interaction between young people of diverse backgrounds and experience. They assessed the need to re-connect with citizens as the Brexit vote and support for populists ring alarm bells over the future of European integration.

Discussions ranged from climate change to transatlantic relations in the Trump era, from education as the keystone for Europe’s future to ways to re-think European integration, new ideas on migration, social inequality and the importance of keeping Europe at the forefront of the digital economy.

A series of tangible proposals aimed at responding to some of Europe’s most pressing problems emerged from the group’s brainstorming sessions. They included new procedures to process asylum applications in transit countries to facilitate legal routes into Europe and reduce the risk of refugees taking hazardous sea journeys at the mercy of traffickers; developing connections between Europe’s creative economic hubs; establishing cross-border networks for teachers to share best practices in Europe; and encouraging silo-breaking contacts between climate scientists and wider society.

The 2017 Class of European Young Leaders attending the seminar was joined in Portugal by alumni from previous years and high-level speakers, including European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas, former Estonian prime minister Taavi Rõivas and former US ambassador to the EU Anthony L. Gardner. Also joining the group as a special guest was Belgian music, video and fashion artist Paul Van Haver, known around the world by his stage name Stromae.

The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, hosted a dinner for the group in the Cascais Citadel Palace and took questions on topics ranging from Brexit to generational politics and Portugal’s relations with its former African colonies.

European Young Leaders (EYL40) - Lisbon
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About

About

The European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme led 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 organised under the patronage of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.

The European Young Leaders represent a promising European leadership from all over the continent and with a wide variety of backgrounds including politics, business, civil society, academia, arts, science and the media. The 2017 class of European Young Leaders was selected by members of Friends of Europe’s Board of Trustees, which includes 11 former Prime Ministers.

The 2017 class of European Young Leaders will meet for the first time from 16 to 18 March 2017 in Lisbon. This seminar will give them an opportunity to meet in an informal setting and discuss key European challenges just a week before Europe marks the 60th anniversary of the EU’s founding treaty. It will focus on European leadership in a disruptive and fast-changing world marked by rising populism and extremist movements and will determine how Europe can better communicate its successes, deliver tangible results, improve how it works and re-connect with people.

IMAGE CREDIT: Bigstock – SeanPavonePhoto

Schedule

Schedule

2017 EYL class welcome lunch Expand 2017 EYL class welcome lunch

A moment to welcome the 2017 class of European Young Leaders to their first seminar and an opportunity for them to meet with their peers.

GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER Expand GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER

Working in pairs in advance to share your story. In plenary introduce for 60 seconds your partner and tell their story to the wider group.

A NEW VISION FOR EUROPE: The trajectory of leadership over the years Expand A NEW VISION FOR EUROPE: The trajectory of leadership over the years

The geopolitical landscape is shifting around us. 60 years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, Europe’s political certainties are being questioned by the migration crisis, Brexit, Trumpism in the United States and populism in Europe. It is now time for Europe to use its current challenges to change and focus on better communicating its successes, delivering tangible results, educating people about its core values and improving how it works. How can Europe go back to the fundamental values at the core of its project? How can it build on its economic weight to help reshape the global agenda? How can it display resilience in its words and actions?

A conversation with

Carlos Moedas

European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation

Taavi Rõivas

Prime Minister of Estonia (2014-2016)

Coffee break
THROUGH THICK AND THIN: What lessons can we learn from Portugal’s leadership? Expand THROUGH THICK AND THIN: What lessons can we learn from Portugal’s leadership?

Portugal has stayed the course despite significant challenges in recent years. The country didn’t go through the 2008 economic crisis unscathed. But after years of austerity policies, Portugal is restoring its economy health, avoiding populism, and experiencing shared leadership between a centre-right President and a centre-left Prime Minister. During this plenary session, EYLs will have the opportunity to discuss the politics of austerity, the fight against populism and this unusual political ‘cohabitation’ with representatives of different political parties. They will determine whether there are lessons there for the rest of Europe.

Introductory remarks by:

Teresa Anjinho

CDS-PP Member and Secretary of State for Justice (2015)

Miguel Morgado

Vice President of the PSD Group in the Portuguese Parliament

João Torres

Vice President of the PS Group in the Portuguese Parliament

Moderated by

Ricardo Baptista Leite

Member, National Parliament of Portugal, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

Time off
Dinner in Lisbon with Fado music
Continue to DAY 2
IS IT TIME TO RETHINK DEMOCRACY? Expand IS IT TIME TO RETHINK DEMOCRACY?

Recent elections and referendums have shaken the liberal democratic order. The old rules no longer seem to apply, with social media contributing to the development of ‘post-truth’ politics in which perceptions seem to count for more than facts. At the same time extremist forces who threaten democracy are using democratic means to access power. How can European democracies and the EU institutions face up to these challenges? What measures should be taken to curb the rise of extremist and populist tendencies? Is it time for a radical rethink of how we perceive ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’?

Introductory remarks by:

Luis Morago

Campaigns Director at Avaaz

Tiberiu Pfiszter

Romanian anti-corruption activist

Reactions by:

Inés Arrimadas García

Leader of the Opposition in the Catalan parliament, 2017 European Young Leader

Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica

Parliamentary State Secretary for European Affairs at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2017 European Young Leader

Coffee break
PARALLEL SESSIONS Expand PARALLEL SESSIONS

PARALLEL SESSION I – BREXIT: How can we restart the European engine?

Britain’s referendum vote to leave the EU has delivered a profound shock to the continent. The looming departure of one of the EU’s strongest diplomatic, economic and military powers is a serious blow for the European project. How can Europe fight against general apathy and move forward? How can we bring back optimism and trust in our common destiny?

Introductory remarks by:

Denis MacShane

British Minister of State for Europe (2002-2005)

Tim Oliver

Dahrendorf Fellow at the London School of Economics

Moderated by:

Owen Jones

Author, Columnist, Commentator & Political Activist for the Guardian, 2017 European Young Leader

PARALLEL SESSION II – UNITED STATES: The end of a long-lasting alliance?

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is a game-changer for transatlantic relations. The triumph of ‘America first’ is likely to see the US retreat from the world and question former alliances. It also gives Europe a unique opportunity to play a bigger role in international relations. How can Europe fill the vacuum? Can it be the new beacon of hope?

An interview of

Anthony L. Gardner

Former US Ambassador to the European Union and Senior Adviser at the Brunswick Group and Sidley & Austin

by

Mehdi Hasan

Broadcaster, Journalist and Presenter at Al Jazeera International, 2017 European Young Leader

Lunch
IF YOU WERE IN CHARGE Expand IF YOU WERE IN CHARGE

Spend time organising yourselves, thinking through the issues and how you intend to discuss the topic and come to an agreement. Ensure you have a set of recommendations to share with the wider group; present your dilemma and areas of disagreement; also consider and take account of what you think good leadership is about.

WORKING GROUP I – MIGRATION

Migration is an issue that continues to be high on Europe’s agenda. It is often combined with the refugee crisis, perceptions of social welfare abuse and terrorism. But can we educate people and change the narrative to the positive impact – and the necessity – of migration in an ageing and economically stagnant Europe? And what can the EU do in terms of job creation and social integration to ensure that it delivers for its citizens and residents, old and new?

Scene setter:

Philippe Legrain

Founder of the Open Political Economy Network (OPEN) and Author of ‘Immigrants: Your country needs them’

Chair:

Michael Printzos

Programme Director, The Hellenic Initiative, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

Rapporteur:

Muna Duzdar

Austrian Secretary of State for Diversity, Public Service and Digitalisation, 2017 European Young Leader

WORKING GROUP II – CLIMATE AND ENERGY

COP21 and COP22 were successful steps towards tackling climate change, but there is still a long way to go before reaching global emissions targets. New technologies could ease the shift to cleaner energy through digitalisation, low-carbon mobility and smarter grids. Europe spearheads the green transition, but it relies heavily on only a few suppliers, and lacks adequate interconnections. How can Europe lead the move to a competitive low-carbon economy while boosting energy security?

Scene setter:

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

Professor of Climatology and Environmental Sciences at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) and Vice Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2008-2015)

Chair:

Jane Burston

Head of Climate and Environment at the UK National Physical Laboratory, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

Rapporteur:

Kirsten Brosbøl

Member of Parliament, Denmark, 2017 European Young Leader

WORKING GROUP III – EDUCATION

The ability to count, read and write are key elements of education, but many thousands of European school-leavers lack these basic skills. Meanwhile the range of skills needed by young people is enlarging, with the digital revolution transforming how we learn and how we work. How can Europe prepare its education infrastructure to deal with the challenges of the 21st century? Is civic education the silver bullet to fight populism?

Scene setter:

Montserrat Gomendio

Deputy Director for Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Spanish Secretary of State for Education, Professional Training and Universities (2012-2015)

Chair:

Kamilla Sultanova

Owner, ConnectUz, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

Rapporteur:

Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin

Lecturer at the University College Dublin School of Mathematics and Statistics, 2017 European Young Leader

WORKING GROUP IV – DIGITAL ECONOMY

While some innovative US start-ups such as Airbnb and Uber have already become big global players, digital as a driver for growth remains largely a story of untapped potential on this side of the Atlantic. Europe is struggling to keep pace with the digital transition and is failing to fulfil its digital promise. How can Europe successfully transform its economy? How can it fully benefit from digital market initiatives and stop the brain drain? How can it create a culture of innovation?

Scene setter:

Fabio Pianesi

Research Director at EIT Digital

Chair:

Michal Štencl

Founder & CEO of Sygic, 2017 European Young Leader

Rapporteur:

Kaja Kallas

Leader of the Liberal Reform Party, 2017 European Young Leader

KNOWLEDGE SHARING Expand KNOWLEDGE SHARING

An opportunity for EYLs to share the recommendations that came out of the working groups in plenary.

Rapporteurs:

Kirsten Brosbøl

Member of Parliament, Denmark, 2017 European Young Leader

Muna Duzdar

Austrian Secretary of State for Diversity, Public Service and Digitalisation, 2017 European Young Leader

Kaja Kallas

Leader of the Liberal Reform Party, 2017 European Young Leader

Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin

Lecturer at the University College Dublin School of Mathematics and Statistics, 2017 European Young Leader

Coffee break
PARALLEL STUDY VISITS: New ideas for Europe Expand PARALLEL STUDY VISITS: New ideas for Europe

Two success stories from the Lisbon region will open their doors to European Young Leaders for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes visit to showcase their achievements, share good practices and inspire.

A. Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown – Championing research in health

The Champalimaud Foundation is a private biomedical research foundation that aims to develop programmes of advanced biomedical research and provide excellent clinical care.

B. DNA Cascais – Promoting innovation through entrepreneurship

DNA Cascais is a business incubator whose mission is to foster entrepreneurship in Cascais and in the Lisbon region through the development and promotion of social and young entrepreneurship.

Time off
Dinner in Cascais in the presence of the President of Portugal, H.E. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Continue to DAY 3
Welcoming remarks by Luís Jerónimo from the Human Development Programme of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
BEHIND THE SCENES OVER BREAKFAST: Connecting with EYLs and alumni Expand BEHIND THE SCENES OVER BREAKFAST: Connecting with EYLs and alumni

Over breakfast, short conversations with EYL40 alumni on issues that matter to them, to gain expertise from this resourceful network.

10.05 – 10.30

1 – Reaching biotechnology holy grails: Creating organs in labs

Eleni Antoniadou

Co-Founder of Transplants without Donors, 2017 European Young Leader

2 – Libya: Why it matters and why it has given me too many grey hairs

Mary Fitzgerald

Libya Analyst, Award-Winning Journalist, 2013 European Young Leader

3 – Europe’s cultural heritage: Are we investing enough?

Eduardo Portal Martin

Conductor and Founder of Antares Ensemble, 2017 European Young Leader

4 – A risk-averse continent: Challenges or opportunities for startups in Europe?

Dimitris Tsigos

Founder and CEO of StartTech Ventures, 2013 European Young Leader

10.30 – 11.00

1 – How I meet the challenge of sustainability in my 3-star restaurant

Eneko Atxa

Chef at three-Michelin-starred restaurant Azurmendi, 2017 European Young Leader

2 – What does it mean to be a Muslim woman in Europe today?

Myriam François

International News Correspondent, TRT World, 2017 European Young Leader

3 – AI and robots: What’s in it for humans?

Jakob Haesler

Co-Founder Project Alloy, 2013 European Young Leader

4 – How to make EU citizens enthusiastic about Europe again?

Juhan Lepassaar

Member of Cabinet of Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for Transport, European Commission, 2014 European Young Leader

Coffee break
A BLUE PRINT FOR 21ST CENTURY LEADERSHIP Expand A BLUE PRINT FOR 21ST CENTURY LEADERSHIP

Three days after a key election in the Netherlands, it is a good time to reflect on the essentials for leadership in the 21st century. Based on what you have learned in the previous sessions, think about how better models of leadership might be promoted, rated and showcased, using social media or other routes. How can leaders combat anti-democratic and populist movements that are gaining ground across Europe? What can be done to protect the democratic order and stem the extremist tide that is rising in France, Germany and Italy ahead of national elections?

Lunch and end of seminar
Speakers

Speakers

Photo of Eleni Antoniadou
Eleni Antoniadou

Co-Founder of Transplants without Donors, 2017 European Young Leader

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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). 

Photo of Inés Arrimadas García
Inés Arrimadas García

Leader of the Opposition in the Catalan parliament, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Inés Arrimadas García

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

Photo of Eneko Atxa
Eneko Atxa

Chef at three-Michelin-starred restaurant Azurmendi, 2017 European Young Leader

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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.

Photo of Ricardo Baptista Leite
Ricardo Baptista Leite

Member, National Parliament of Portugal, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

Show more information on Ricardo Baptista Leite

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.

Photo of Kirsten Brosbøl
Kirsten Brosbøl

Member of Parliament, Denmark, 2017 European Young Leader

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Kirsten has represented the Social Democrats in the Danish Parliament since 2005. She was a rapporteur on research and higher education as well as on gender equality and food. She was appointed as Denmark’s Minister of the Environment in 2014, in the government of Helle Thorning-Schmidt. In that position, she facilitated the development of sustainable solutions and contributed to the development of industrial growth and workplaces in Denmark. In the 2015 general election, she was re-elected to the Danish Parliament. Kirsten is the co-founder of the Bilateral Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. The network operates across party lines in the Danish Parliament to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights at a national and international level.

Photo of Jane Burston
Jane Burston

Head of Climate and Environment at the UK National Physical Laboratory, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

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Jane has dedicated most her life to climate and environmental issues, serving first as a strategic consultant on low carbon policy to the Mayor of London and is now running a world-class climate science and low carbon technology centre at the UK’s National Measurement Institute. In 2008, she founded Carbon Retirement, an award-winning social enterprise working with the EU ETS. Her dedication to sustainability and entrepreneurial drive was rewarded with being named as one of the ‘Top 30 UK entrepreneurs under 30’ by Real Business in 2010, a ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Square Mile in 2011 and one of the ‘Top 10 Outstanding Young Persons of the UK’ by the Chamber of Commerce International in 2015, among others.

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Geert Cami

Co-Founder & Secretary General at Friends of Europe

Show more information on Geert Cami

Geert Cami co-founded Friends of Europe in 1999 and now mainly deals with the strategic development (from concepts to fundraising and implementation) of our think-tank and its flagship projects. He also focuses on the expansion and the activation of our vast network of senior political, corporate, media and societal contacts throughout the world, and coordinates the work of the Boards involved in the governance of the organisation. Since its launch in February 2019, Geert also runs TownHall Europe, the Davignon Centre for New Leadership, next to the European Parliament in Brussels.

In the nineties, Geert worked for a few years in ECHO at the European Commission, where he helped create and develop the then newly set-up Information and Communications Unit. His focus was mainly on raising the profile of the EU’s humanitarian efforts throughout the world, managing the Information Budget and dealing with outreach through publications and media initiatives such as exhibitions, television debates or Humanitarian Days in Member States.

Geert also headed the European conference organising, press relations and publishing company Forum Europe for more than ten years. At the outset of his career, Geert worked for 2 music programmes at Belgian public Radio 1, and very briefly as a teacher and TV journalist.

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Muna Duzdar

Austrian Secretary of State for Diversity, Public Service and Digitalisation, 2017 European Young Leader

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A lawyer by training, Muna is passionate about politics. During her studies, she was the international secretary of Socialist Youth Austria and worked for the French Socialist Party. After graduation, she became a local councillor in the Vienna-Donaustadt district at the age of 23. In 2010, she joined the Austrian Federal Council where she became the Social Democrat spokesperson on foreign policy. Six years later, she was nominated as Secretary of State in the Office of the Federal Chancellery. Muna is also the President of the Palestinian-Austrian Society, a group that aims to deepen exchanges between Austrians and Palestinians and play an active part in Austrian society by promoting anti-racist, democratic and transnational programmes.

Photo of Mary Fitzgerald
Mary Fitzgerald

Libya Analyst, Award-Winning Journalist, 2013 European Young Leader

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Mary is a journalist and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has worked on Libya since 2011 and lived there throughout 2014. Her work has appeared in publications including the Economist, Foreign Policy, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Financial Times and the Guardian. She has conducted research on Libya for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMED) among others. She is a contributing author to an edited volume on the Libyan revolution published by Oxford University Press. In her previous role as Irish Times foreign affairs correspondent, she reported from 40 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. She is a member of the Global Women’s Forum ‘Rising Talents’ network.

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Myriam François

International News Correspondent, TRT World, 2017 European Young Leader

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Myriam is an academic, broadcaster and writer specialising in issues related to Islam and the Middle East. She is a regular contributor to the Middle East Eye, the New Statesman and the Telegraph. In 2014, she broke a headline story on an exclusive 36-page document written by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Al-Qaeda militant behind the 9/11 attacks. Since then, she presented two BBC documentaries, ‘The Muslim Pound’ (2016) and ‘A Deadly Warning: Srebrenica Revisited’ (2015) nominated for the Sandford St Martin religious programming award. Myriam is also a Research Associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies at SOAS University, where she focuses on British-Muslim integration issues. She recently completed her doctorate at Oxford University on the subject of Islamic political movements in Morocco.

Photo of Montserrat Gomendio
Montserrat Gomendio

Deputy Director for Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Spanish Secretary of State for Education, Professional Training and Universities (2012-2015)

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A biologist by training, Montserrat Gomendio played an active role in the education reform undertaken by the Spanish government as Secretary of State for Education, Vocational Training and Universities from 2012 to 2015. In her current position at the OECD, she focuses on developing strategic orientations in the area of education and skills, aiming to build effective and efficient educational institutions and help countries strengthen employability, inclusiveness and social participation. Montserrat is also a former Vice President of the Spanish Research Council, the third largest public institution dedicated to research in Europe.

Photo of Mehdi Hasan
Mehdi Hasan

Broadcaster, Journalist and Presenter at Al Jazeera International, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Mehdi Hasan

Mehdi is an award-winning journalist and political commentator. He is the presenter of ‘The Café’, ‘Head to Head’ and ‘UpFront’ on Al Jazeera English. He was previously political director at Huffington Post UK. Mehdi was named as one of the 100 most influential Britons on Twitter and was included in the annual global list of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world. In 2013, his debate-winning speech in an Oxford Union debate on Islam and peace went viral online, winning more than two million views. He is also the author of two books: a biography of former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and an eBook on debt and the financial crisis.

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Jakob Haesler

Co-Founder Project Alloy, 2013 European Young Leader

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Prior to founding Project Alloy, Jakob was the CEO and Co-Founder of Tinyclues SAS, a Paris-based software startup with the objective of industrialising datamining on Big Data with the help of advanced machine learning algorithms in a Cloud Computing environment. Previously he was a partner and consultant at McKinsey & Company in Germany and France where he worked on topics ranging from Banking to Public Sector Reform to Global Public Health issues, notably the creation and distribution of child HIV treatments. Prior to McKinsey he briefly worked at the World Bank. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science from the University of St. Gallen. Jakob is also a founding partner of the “Cercle du Leadership”.

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Owen Jones

Author, Columnist, Commentator & Political Activist for the Guardian, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Owen Jones

Owen is an author, commentator and political activist. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian, having previously written for the Independent. He has made several television appearances on the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky News as well as on ITV’s Daybreak and BBC One’s ‘Question Time’. His work also appeared in several publications, including the Sunday Mirror and Le Monde diplomatique. In 2011, Owen published his first book, ‘Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class’, which received favourable critical reviews, including from the New York Times. He was named one of the top 50 Britons of the year by the Independent on Sunday in 2011 and was awarded the Young Writer of the Year prize at the Political Book Award in 2013.

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Kaja Kallas

Leader of the Liberal Reform Party, 2017 European Young Leader

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A competition lawyer by profession, Kaja was elected Member of the Estonian Parliament and Chair of the Committee on Economic Affairs in 2011. After being elected to the European Parliament in 2014, she became a prominent proponent of innovation and frequently emphasised that regulations should not hinder the technological revolution. She authored five reports in the European Parliament, including of an own-initiative report on the Digital Single Market. Kaja left the European sphere in 2018 to become leader of Estonia’s Liberal Reform Party. Despite steered her party to victory in the 2019 national elections, she was declined the country’s leadership position which would have made her the country’s first female prime-minister. She is currently using her influence to counter the far-right coalition government’s agenda.

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Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica

Parliamentary State Secretary for European Affairs at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica

Zanda started her professional career at Jurmala’s city council in 1998. She then worked at the Ministry of Regional Development before joining the Strategic Analysis Commission, where she advised Latvian President Valdis Zatlers on strategic planning. She was elected to the Latvian Parliament in 2011. During her mandate, she chaired the Committee on European Affairs and the Reform Party parliamentary group. In 2014, Zanda was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary in the Latvian government. Her role is to ensure cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Latvian Parliament and the European Parliament.

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Philippe Legrain

Founder of the Open Political Economy Network (OPEN) and Author of ‘Immigrants: Your country needs them’

Show more information on Philippe Legrain

Philippe Legrain has established a reputation as a key commentator and forward-thinker on European policies, globalisation, international economics and migration. He is a critically acclaimed author on migration and has recently published a report on the economic benefits that refugees can bring to society through his co-founded think tank, the Open Political Economy Network (OPEN). Legrain has also previously served as an adviser to former EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

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Anthony L. Gardner

Former US Ambassador to the European Union and Senior Adviser at the Brunswick Group and Sidley & Austin

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Anthony served as US Ambassador to the EU from 2014 to 2017, during which time he played a key role in negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP), the EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement and the Umbrella Agreement facilitating the transatlantic transfer of data between law enforcement authorities. Prior to this position, he was managing director of a London-based equity firm and served in senior roles at the Bank of America, GE Capital and GE International. He also served as director for European Affairs on the US National Security Council, where he was responsible for US relations with the EU.

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Juhan Lepassaar

Member of Cabinet of Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for Transport, European Commission, 2014 European Young Leader

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Juhan is Member of Cabinet of Vice-President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for Transport since 2013. Currently, he is responsible for coordinating policy in the fields of rail and road transport and also covers non-portfolio issues such as energy policy, internal affairs, Economic and Monetary Union and the Eastern Partnership. Before he was Director for EU Affairs at the Government Office in Estonia. In this capacity he acted as the Prime Minister’s chief adviser for EU affairs and head of Estonia’s inter-ministerial coordination system of EU policy. He conducted the high-level negotiations for the 2014-2020 MFF, and participated in the EU’s response to the international financial crisis and subsequent reform of the EMU. Juhan holds an MA in Contemporary European Policy from the University of Sussex and a degree in Comparative Politics from University of Tartu. He has also studied interior design at the Estonian Art Academy.

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Denis MacShane

British Minister of State for Europe (2002-2005)

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As a former Minister of State for Europe and a delegate to the Council of Europe and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Denis MacShane was at the centre of the UK’s relationship with the EU, gaining expert knowledge and insight into their institutional and political dynamics. He has written and published multiple books on the EU-UK relations, with his most recent piece of work, ‘Brexit: How Britain left Europe’, providing an expert account on the political and social climate that led to Brexit.

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Carlos Moedas

European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation

Show more information on Carlos Moedas

Prior to his current position, Carlos Moedas worked for Goldman Sachs and the Deutsche Bank before establishing his own investment management company in 2008. In the midst of the European sovereign debt crisis, Moedas was appointed as lead coordinator of the Portuguese Social Democratic Party in the negotiations to set up the 2011 state budget and later became chief negotiator for Portugal’s economic and financial adjustment programme. European Commissioner since 2014, Moedas focuses on the promotion and implementation of Horizon 2020, the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme, aiming to make progress towards promoting international excellence in research and science in the EU.

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Luis Morago

Campaigns Director at Avaaz

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A dedicated and experienced human rights campaigner, Luis Morago has worked as Head of Oxfam’s Brussels office, participating in the organisation’s advocacy initiatives at the European Institutions. He is now Campaigns Director for Avaaz, the world’s largest online platform with over 44 million members dedicated to promoting global activism on issues such as climate change, conflict, corruption, human rights and poverty. Based in Madrid, he is currently engaged in developing Avaaz’s presence in Spain, which already includes more than 300,000 members.

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Miguel Morgado

Vice President of the PSD Group in the Portuguese Parliament

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Miguel Morgado is Director for the Adriatic Sea Region at the European Investment Bank (EIB) since January 2016. As such, he is in charge of the EIB’s operations in the Western Balkans. The EIB is the leading international lender in the region, having financed projects totalling €6.4bn in the last decade and having played a key role in the reconstruction of the region. Morgado previously served as Head of the Portuguese lending division and as Director of the Operations Support Department.

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Tiberiu Pfiszter

Romanian anti-corruption activist

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A software developer, Tiberiu Pfiszter had never before been politically active until early 2017 when the newly-elected Romanian government submitted an emergency decree decriminalising a series of corruption offences in the country. In response, he organised a Facebook event to mobilise people in his hometown to contest the bill. In a few days, Tiberiu became the leader of the largest protest in Romania since the fall of the Communist regime in 1989. The demonstration that he triggered brought 30.000 people on to the streets of Timisoara and eventually led the government to repeal the decree.

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Taavi Rõivas

Prime Minister of Estonia (2014-2016)

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Taavi Rõivas is a strong supporter of a united Europe and an advocate of market liberalism and security policies. He is a tech savvy enthusiast of innovative solutions and has a first-hand experience of how to govern a digital society, as Estonia has become one of the most wired countries on Earth, a global leader in e-government and has one of the highest number of start-ups per capita. Rõivas joined the Reform Party in 1998, became the leader of the party in 2014 and led the party to victory in the 2015 Parliamentary Elections. Before his term as the Prime Minister, Rõivas was the Minister of Social Affairs from 2012 to 2014 and had previously served as chairman of the Finance Committee and the European Affairs Committee.

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Tim Oliver

Dahrendorf Fellow at the London School of Economics

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Tim Oliver is a distinguished academic and policy expert on UK foreign and security policies, particularly regarding the implications of Brexit on Europe, on which he has written extensively. He is a go-to expert for news organisations such as Newsweek and journals such as the International Spectator, in which he recently published ‘Fifty Shades of Brexit’. Oliver has also gained key political insights working in the European Parliament and the House of Lords, helping to inform his views on British and EU politics.

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Fabio Pianesi

Research Director at EIT Digital

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Fabio Pianesi has more than 20 years of experience as a leader and researcher in the ICT sector and as a professor at various universities. Throughout his career, he has focused on topics such as Natural Language Processing, Independent Living and Human Behaviour Analysis. Pianesi is Research Director at EIT Digital, a leading European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organisation driving Europe’s digital transformation. He is in charge of developing research strategies for EIT Digital’s ICT lab programs and advancing relationships with relevant bodies of the EU and national governments.

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Eduardo Portal Martin

Conductor and Founder of Antares Ensemble, 2017 European Young Leader

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Over the last few years, Eduardo has made a great impression on audiences and orchestras alike. Since graduating as conductor and violinist, he has conducted multiple orchestras across Europe and the Americas, such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra. In 2015, his presentation with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales included a broadcast on BBC Radio 3. For the third season in a row, he has returned on multiple occasions to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to conduct concerts all around England. Widely acclaimed by musical critics, Eduardo is particularly committed to the contemporary repertoire and is the founder of the Antares Ensemble in Spain, whose focus is on the performance of new music and research into its links with historical and rarely-performed masterpieces.

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Michael Printzos

Programme Director, The Hellenic Initiative, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

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Michael is Program Director at The Hellenic Initiative, a global, non-profit, secular institution aiming to mobilise support and investment for sustainable economic renewal in Greece. He is also a Committee Member at the American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, dedicated to achieving Greek competitiveness through properly informing and adequately motivating business employees. Michael is the co-owner of Green Systems, an engineering procurement and construction company in Athens, and Brainomix, a start-up company that develops medical imaging software to assess the eligibility of acute stroke patients for life saving treatment. He completed his secondary education in Greece before attending the University of Oxford where he gained a degree in mechanical engineering.

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Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin

Lecturer at the University College Dublin School of Mathematics and Statistics, 2017 European Young Leader

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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.

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Kamilla Sultanova

Owner, ConnectUz, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

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Kamilla is a bridge-builder and a solopreneur based in Helsinki. She has had a successful sales career in Scandinavian shipping companies including Maersk Line, where she was in charge of a global sales strategy execution in more than 20 markets spanning Eastern Europe, Nordics and Middle East. A gifted adviser and passionate advocate, Kamilla has done over 10 years’ worth of activist work in influencing debates, policies and practices in the field of gender equality, inclusion, empowerment and cross-cultural dialogue in the Nordics and the EU. 

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Michal Štencl

Founder & CEO of Sygic, 2017 European Young Leader

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Michal started programming when he was just seven years old and developed his own operating system by the time he was 20. In 2004, he co-founded Sygic, a mobile navigation company focused on business and holiday travellers. It now has more than 20 million active users worldwide. The company became the first to offer navigation for iPhone and the second for Android. In 2015, Sygic reached the milestone of 100 million downloads of its navigation app. It ranks second in the App Annie Index Travel & Local category, just after Google. Sygic’s automotive team cooperates with companies such as Honda, Jaguar and Land Rover to bring the latest connected driving innovation to cars.

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Dimitris Tsigos

Founder and CEO of StartTech Ventures, 2013 European Young Leader

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Dimitris is Founder and CEO of StartTech Ventures, a seed fund, incubator and business angel network for the ICT sector. The Group was the first Greek Seed Fund member of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN) and has helped launch more than ten successful IT start-ups. He is President of the Hellenic Start-up Association, a collective effort of Greek start-up entrepreneurs promoting high-growth and innovative entrepreneurship in Greece. He is also President of YES – the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs, which is the leading organisation of youth entrepreneurship in Europe. He holds an MBA from the Athens University of Economics and Business and a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Crete.

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Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

Professor of Climatology and Environmental Sciences at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) and Vice Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2008-2015)

Show more information on Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele is a distinguished academic, leading climatologist and experienced science communicator. He has authored many scientific articles, led numerous studies and participated in dozens of UN conferences on climate issues. In 2017, van Ypersele was appointed as one of the 15 eminent scientists to draft the forthcoming UN Global Sustainable Development Report. A recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, he currently teaches climatology and environmental sciences at the Earth and Life Institute at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium.

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