Friends of Europe is happy to announce ten more names from the 2018 class of the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme.
Featuring a total of forty talented and passionate young European change-makers, the group announced today includes, among others, a food waste activist, a cultural strategist, established politicians and inspiring business leaders.
Meet some of our newest Young Leaders:
Mariya Gabriel, Bulgaria
European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society
Mariya is a Bulgarian politician and a member of the GERB party, currently serving as the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. Previously, Mariya was also a Member of the European Parliament, active as both the Head of the Bulgarian European People’s Party (EPP) delegation and involved in a wide range of parliamentary committees, including acting as EPP Group coordinator for the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality( FEMM), and as a Member of the Committees on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI); Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE); Petitions (PETI); and the special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering (CRIM). She is passionate about initiatives related to young people, and has established six European information centres in Bulgaria.
Selina Juul, Denmark
Founder and Chairman of the Board of Stop Wasting Food movement
Selina is an activist widely known for her work in promoting the reduction of food waste, featured on BBC and CNN. She founded the non profit organisation Stop Wasting Food, which led Denmark to engaging in the fight against food waste from farm to fork. Selina has authored over 190 articles on food waste, she is a blogger for The Huffington Post USA and published a leftovers cookbook. She has received numerous awards for her work, the most notable are Dane of the Year 2014 and Winner of Nordic Council Nature and Environment Prize 2013. She works with the EU and the UN and is a member of global coalition against food waste Champions 12.3.
Jesse Klaver, Netherlands
Leader of the Dutch green party ‘GroenLinks’ and Member of the House of Representatives
Jesse currently serves as the green-left party leader in the Dutch Parliament, with a mandate focused on environmental and educational issues. In his time as party leader, Jesse was responsible for the party’s most recent general election campaign during which he gained additional 10 parliamentary seats for the party, rising to an all-time high of 14, and making GroenLinks the fifth most important group in the House. Previously, Jesse was the spokesperson for Finance, Environment and Education and sat on a wide range of parliamentary committees. He has publically opposed tax evasion and has co-authored a memo on protecting the Dutch flora and fauna.
Kristel Kruustük, Estonia
CEO & Founder of Testlio
As CEO and co-founder of Testlio, Kristel leads a professional testing platform that helps software developers by connecting them to the best testers all over the world. The business is still growing rapidly, having already raised more than $6.25 million in investment capital, and works with a roster of major US and international clients, including the NBA, Microsoft, CBS and Hotels.com.
Elisabeth Köstinger, Austria
President of the National Council, the first chamber of the Austrian Parliament
Elisabeth is an Austrian politician and the current President of the National Council. Elisabeth was a Member of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2017, belonging to the European People’s Party Group (EPP), and won the MEP Award for her work in agriculture and rural development in 2014. She currently serves as the Vice-President of the Austrian Farmers Association, and continues to passionately advocate for issues related to rural areas and their development.
Beatrice Leanza, Italy
Cultural strategist and Co-Founder of B/Side Design
Based in Beijing since 2002, Beatrice is a cultural strategist and writer with a background in Asian studies and fifteen-year experience in developing programmes of urban and social impact. She served as creative director of Beijing Design Week (2012 - 2016), China’s largest and internationally best reputed design and architecture event, and was creative director of the urban regeneration plan for Baitasi historic district in Beijing (2015-2016), shaping stakeholders’ relations across the governmental, private and public sectors. In 2017 she co-founded B/Side Design an inclusive organisation currently establishing The Global School, the first independent institute for design and multidisciplinary research in the PRC. She is an advisory board member of Design Trust (Hong Kong) and an advocate of practical creativity for educational empowerment in sustainable futures.
Gottfried Ludewig, Germany
German politician for the Christian Democratic Union
Elected in 2011, Gottfried currently serves as the Deputy Chairman and the spokesperson for health issues of the Christian Democrats Union parliamentary group in the Berlin House of Representatives. In this position, Gottfried is particularly committed to strengthening research and innovation in the health care sector as well as advocating for the creation of a Berlin nursing home as an institutionalised representation of the care sector in the Berlin House of Representatives.
Sammy Mahdi, Belgium
Chairman of the youth wing of the Flemish CD&V party
Sammy, the son of an Iraqi political refugee and a Belgian mother, has become the first ever Chairman from Brussels to lead the Flemish ‘Jong CD&V’ party. He has previously served as a parliamentary assistant and writes a regular column for the Belgian newspaper De Morgen. Passionate about issues related to integration and equality, Sammy is viewed as a bridge builder between Belgium’s Muslim and non-Muslim populations.
Rebeca Minguela, Spain
Founder of Clarity AI
As Founder of Clarity AI, Rebeca looks to solve the problem of inefficient and unequal allocation of capital by building an automated tool which rates the investment portfolios of a range of projects, companies, governments and NGOs. Rebeca is also the Founder of the Blink Booking mobile app, an award-winning last-minute booking app that is a market leader in Europe with more than 800,000 downloads, almost 3,000 hotels and available in six languages before its sale to Groupon. Previously, Rebeca served as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and as engineer at the German Aerospace Agency, Siemens and IBM.
Antonio Zappulla, Italy
Chief Operating Officer at the Thomson Reuters Foundation
Currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Antonio oversees the philanthropic arm of Thomson Reuters, leading on communications, monitoring and evaluation activities as well as the development functions of the organisation. Prior to his present role, Antonio worked as the Executive Producer at Bloomberg Television where he was in charge of news, factual programmes and documentaries for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He is also a member of the Pioneers Class at Stanford Graduate School of Business for the LEAD Program in Corporate Innovation.
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.