About

Bold leadership, ground-breaking ideas, unparalleled passion …

We’ve learned time and again that the challenges of the 21st century and of our ever complex world, cannot be addressed using the rulebooks of the past. The world is screaming for a new type of leadership and a renewed social contract in which the private sector, local and multilateral institutions, a citizens can collaborate and be the drivers of change.
Today’s leaders may look back in time for inspiration, but they must lead with innovation.
The European Young Leaders represent an alternative infrastructure of leadership, a new generation of leaders able to inspire action and generate change. Their passion, their diversity of backgrounds and opinions, and their innovative thinking together create the right formula for generating fresh ideas to build a more forward-thinking Europe.
Our European leaders provide alternative perspectives from outside the institutional and political frameworks to EU decisionmakers writing the rule book.
The European Young Leaders also play the essential role of helping to reconnect people with and rebuild trust in politics by engaging a wider community around key EU policy issues that need a whole economy whole society approach to progress fast.
They are scientists, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, astronomers. They are citizens and their thinking is not bound by multilateral or frameworks, or burocracy.

They help take Europe out of Brussels, in their own countries and cities. They are facilitating citizens’ participation in the creation of a more equal, innovative and inclusive Europe and help build a European identity.

The programme in the next years will take a new localism lens, bringing together these thinkers and leaders to act on some of the key issues affecting Europe’s future: the green and digital transformation, strengthening of our democracy, relations with our neighbours, increasing power sharing, and building a more gender and diverse Europe.

Succeeding in these policies together and getting more citizens engaged in European elections will be our litmus test.


Tune in to the EYLs on Friends of Europe’s Leading Views podcast

Joss Garman on the climate crisis: how bad is it (bad!) and can we get out of it (yes!)?

Leading view

Joss Garman on the climate crisis: how bad is it (bad!) and can we get out of it (yes!)?

Joss Garman

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Negar Mortazavi on Europe's role in the US-Iran dispute, the Trump factor and the role of media

Leading view

Negar Mortazavi on Europe's role in the US-Iran dispute, the Trump factor and the role of media

Negar Mortazavi

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Una Mullally on abortion rights, marriage equality and galvanising a generation for change

Leading view

Una Mullally on abortion rights, marriage equality and galvanising a generation for change

Una Mullally

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Continue to Meet the EYL

Meet the EYL40

Riccardo Lattanzi
Riccardo Lattanzi

Associate Professor of Radiology, Electrical and Computer Engineering at New York University (NYU) and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Riccardo is a biomedical scientist, whose work lies at the intersection of physics, engineering and medicine. His research investigates the interactions of electromagnetic fields with biological tissue in order to develop new technologies to improve the diagnostic power of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers. Riccardo also serves as the Director of Training of the NYU Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research (CAI²R). His various honours and awards include the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) I.I. Rabi Young Investigator Award, a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, and a Fulbright Scholarship.

Ivan Lesay
Ivan Lesay

Co-Founder and CEO of Slovak Investment Holding, Civil Servant and Fiction Writer and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Ivan is a political scientist, economic advisor and writer from Slovakia. Shortly after joining the Slovak Ministry of Finance as advisor to the minister, Ivan instigated the setup of the Slovak Investment Holding (SIH). Since being appointed its CEO in January 2017, Ivan has led this state-owned fund in investing in strategic sectors of the economy, and driving economic development throughout the country. He previously served as deputy finance minister, and held leading roles during the Slovak Presidency in the EU Council. Ivan is a keen writer and has seen the publication of a number of his works, including a popular study of the 2008 Financial Crisis he co-authored and a children’s book.

Photo of Clare Lockhart
Clare Lockhart

Director & Co-Founder, Institute for State Effectiveness, 2013 European Young Leader

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Clare is Co-founder and Director of the Institute for State Effectiveness, an initiative dedicated to understanding the balance between state, market and civil society in the 21st century and to creating actionable tools and approaches to enhance stability. In addition, she directs the Marketing Building Initiative of the Aspen Institute. Among many awards and prizes, Clare has been appointed Fellow of Harvard University, named one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers, and was appointed Chair of the Fragile States Council for the World Economic Forum during the 2011-12 term. Clare also participated in the Bonn Agreement as an advisor to the UN and the Government of Afghanista

Radoslaw Martin Cichy
Radoslaw Martin Cichy

Research Group Leader, Free University of Berlin and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Radoslaw is a neuroscientist, leading the research group “Neural Dynamics of Visual Cognition” at the Free University Berlin. His main interest is human visual cognition – that is, the way the brain represents visual objects. Radoslaw has received numerous awards and grants from private and public funders for his ground-breaking research including from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and, most recently, from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In addition to teaching and lecturing at various universities worldwide, he is also a regular on the conference trail in the US and Europe.

Michel Martone
Michel Martone

Professor of Law at Teramo University and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Michel is Professor of Industrial Relations and Labour Law at the Law Faculty of Teramo University, Professor at the Italian National School of Government and Visiting Professor of Labour Law at the Law Faculty of L.U.I.S.S. Guido Carli University in Rome. Michel was appointed Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Policy by Prime Minister Mario Monti in November 2011, a position he held until Spring 2013. He previously served as Legal Advisor to the Minister for Public Administration and Innovation and to the Minister of Employment and Social Affairs, and has represented Italy in the Board of Directors of Eurofound. He is a registered barrister at the Court of Rome, and in 2009 he and his brother founded the law firm Martone & Martone. Michel is a member of various think tanks, an editor for newspapers and specialised journals on labour and economic issues, and the author of many publications on labour law.

Photo of Katarzyna Nawrot
Katarzyna Nawrot

Member of Polish Academy of Sciences Committee for Future Studies Poland 2000 Plus and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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A Polish economist, Katarzyna is currently a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences Committee for Future Studies Poland 2000 Plus. Her research interests include development, cultural and international economics, with a focus on East Asian markets. Katarzyna’s work also explores challenges to global development. Having lectured at universities across Asia, Africa and Europe, she has worked on several research projects for the European Commission and the National Bureau of Research in Poland, among other international institutions, as well as national and local governments. Her academic achievements have been recognised by numerous awards, including one for outstanding young scholars from Poland’s Minister of Science and Higher Education. Katarzyna has published numerous articles and books on issues relating to development, governance, integration and regional cooperation, most recently having co-edited “The Rise of Megacities: Challenges, Opportunities and Unique Characteristics”.

Photo of Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin
Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin

Lecturer at the University College Dublin School of Mathematics and Statistics and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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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.

Matthias Niessner
Matthias Niessner

Professor of Computer Science, Technical University of Munich (TUM) and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Matthias conducts research into 3D digitization at the juncture between the fields of computer graphics, computer vision, and artificial intelligence. He currently heads the Visual Computing Lab at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). His research is oriented towards the generation of 3D models of real-world environments using video and range cameras (for example with Deep Learning). One of his most well-known projects involved algorithms that make it possible to manipulate the facial expressions of any subject within a regular YouTube video – which he demonstrated on the Jimmy Kimmel show. Matthias studied computer science and his thesis on the topic of “Subdivision Surface Rendering using Hardware Tessellation” was submitted in 2013 and was awarded the highest honors. From 2013 to 2017, Professor Nießner was a visiting assistant professor at Stanford University.

Vessela Tcherneva
Vessela Tcherneva

Deputy Director, European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Vessela is Spokesperson and Member of Cabinet for the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previously, she was Director of the Bulgarian office of the European Foreign Policy Council and Programme Director of the Centre for Liberal Strategies. Between 2004 and 2006 she was Secretary of the International Commission on the Balkans, chaired by Giuliano Amato. She is Observing Editor of Foreign Policy – Bulgaria magazine, a position she has held since its launch in 2005.

Shahin Vallée
Shahin Vallée

Head of the Geo-Economics Programme at the German Council on Foreign Relations and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Shahin is Senior Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations. He is also affiliated with the European Institute of the London School of Economics and is a member of the euro50 group, a group of senior current and former European policymakers in Europe. Prior to this Shahin was a Senior Economist at Soros Fund Management and he was also the Economic Advisor to the French Economy Minister until April 2015. Shahin has also been the Economic Advisor to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy. In this capacity, he worked in particular on issues pertaining to European economic policy, the architecture of the euro area and the consequences of the economic and financial crisis.

Jan Veselý
Jan Veselý

Learning Designer at Selvomat, Director of the Innovation Laboratory at Charles University and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Jan specialises in helping start-up entrepreneurs take their first steps. In addition to his current roles at Selvomat and Charles University, Jan is the Founder of EduFórum, a network designed to support innovators in education, Co-Founder of Changemakers Czech Republic and a member of Red Button, an entrepreneurship ecosystem that seeks to foster collaboration among professionals and innovators across disciplines. He has developed several acceleration programmes for social innovation, including the Vodafone Foundation Laboratory, Social Impact Award Summer Accelerator Program and Struct Innovation Lab. Jan has also coordinated activities for the Alliance for YOUth CZ to support collaboration between companies and previously led the IBM Smarter University, an internship programme for students in technical fields. Jan is also the former director of Lean Startup CZ, a Prague-based business that assists new companies in achieving financial stability, efficiency and longevity, which features an accelerator programme for non-profit and social businesses.

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Continue to Selection process

Selection process

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE APPLICATION DEADLINE WAS MARCH 15. THE APPLICATION PROCESS IS NOW CLOSED

The European Young Leaders programme 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 the most 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 programme acts as a forum for those who have already established themselves at the forefront of their professions to meet, discuss and collaborate with their counterparts from other fields of expertise. Previous candidates include: government ministers, CEOs, Michelin-starred chefs, international film directors, and high profile journalists.

Since the launch of the programme, we have gradually taken steps to ensure the diversity and exceptional quality of its selection process. We have made sure that its comprehensive and competitive nature ensures the identification and selection of remarkable individuals.

We aim to select 40 European Young Leaders of diverse backgrounds in order to enable a broad exchange of ideas, creating the basis for a new generation of engaged European leaders.

SELECTION CRITERIA

  • Candidates must be between 30 and 40 years of age (born on or after 1 January 1982);
  • Candidates must be a national of an EU member state, the UK or of one of the 6 Balkan states currently on the path towards EU integration (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia);
  • Candidates should have established themselves at the highest levels of their chosen profession, or be on track to do so;
  • Candidates must be committed to serve society at large through noteworthy contributions and have demonstrated a record of significant achievements and outstanding professional experience;
  • Candidates are also evaluated based on their ability to contribute to the enrichment of the programme as a whole;
  • Candidates are required to be fluent in English as it is the working language of the programme.
  • Candidates must commit to participating in at least one seminar during the programme year.

To be considered for the 2022 selection process, all applications and nominations must be sent to: eyl40@friendsofeurope.org

Application deadline: Monday, 15 March 2021

To read in detail about the selection process, please click here

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