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

Tomáš Ignác Fénix
Tomáš Ignác Fénix

Farmer & Vice President of the European Council of Young Farmers and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Tomáš Ignác is the Vice President of the European Council of Young Farmers – the voice of Europe’s next generation of farmers towards the European institutions. He also runs a 50-ha organic fruit and wine family farm in southern Moravia and cooperates with agricultural and environmental institutions as part of his farm business. The motivation to farm in this less favoured region is a holistic approach to (re-)build the countryside. Previously, Tomáš actively engaged in the NGO Antikomplex, working on the German Czech reconciliation. In addition, he led the LGBT Christian community called Logos for four years. His ambition is to advocate for a sustainable agricultural policy and a strong bond of the European nations and between rural areas and cities.

Gyde Jensen
Gyde Jensen

Youngest MP in Germany and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Gyde is the youngest female Member of the German Parliament. She is also Chairwoman of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. Prior to these posts, she spent time working in Geneva and Washington D.C, in addition to serving as communications manager at a political foundation. She is the co-founder of the start-up network platform, ‘Kiel Starting City’. In October 2017, she was elected a Member to the German Bundestag and is the speaker on human rights for the FDP parliamentary group. Since January 2018, she has chaired the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.

Abdalla Kablan
Abdalla Kablan

Serial Entrepreneur, award winning speaker and academic and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Abdalla is a serial entrepreneur and award-winning Fintech expert. He specialises in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the design of complex financial systems. Throughout his career, he founded a number of start-ups and companies specialising in deep learning, professional match-making and Fintech. Furthermore, Abdalla is an Alumni of Microsoft Ventures UK and worked on projects which were featured at the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos. He is also an academic at the University of Malta where he lectures and researches topics related to computational intelligence, financial engineering and financial data science. In addition to these roles, Abdalla advises governments on matters related to strategic development and the utilisation of technology, Fintech, and Blockchain/DLT technologies.

Photo of Assita Kanko
Assita Kanko

Member of European Parliament and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Assita is a Belgian author, politician and entrepreneur. Previously a town councillor in Ixelles (one of the largest districts of Brussels), she is a popular media commentator, a columnist for newspaper De Standaard and founder of Polin – the political incubator a start-up to help women enter and advance in politics in Belgium. Growing up as a child in Burkina Faso, Kanko underwent female genital mutilation. After immigrating from the west African nation to Belgium, she became one of the most important fighters for gender equality and women’s rights. Having initially integrated the liberal party, she has since moved to the Flemish conservative party and aims to maintain her advocacy for fairness. She wrote two books on feminism and the position of women.

Marta Krupinska
Marta Krupinska

Head of Google for Startups UK, Co-Founder of real time pay FinTech start-up FreeUP and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Marta is a London-based fintech entrepreneur who co-founded the real time pay start-up FreeUp. She is also an entrepreneur-in-residence at the global GovTech firm PUBLIC.io. Having experienced first-hand the challenges that arise when attempts are made to send money home, she helped co-found the global money transfer platform Azimo, raising over $70mn in funding and gained over 1mn customers. Marta is a frequent public speaker and advocate for responsible leadership and inclusion.

Andreas Kunze
Andreas Kunze

Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of Konux and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Andreas is the CEO and Co-Founder of KONUX, a company that combines smart sensors and analytics based on artificial intelligence (AI) with the aim of guaranteeing the punctual operation and maintenance of railway networks. While working for corporations like Siemens and BMW, Andreas came to the realisation that many industrial companies were not yet aware of the advantages accompanying the Internet of Things, nor did they know how to properly make use of their data. He managed to raise +$50 million with leading Silicon Valley investors and just a year later, KONUX won the national mobility award ‘Deutscher Mobilitätspreis’ along with the German digital award ‘The Spark’ in 2016. That same year, Andreas was the youngest CEO to be included in the entrepreneur list by the German Capital Magazine.

Alex Loizou
Alex Loizou

Co-Founder & CEO of Trouva and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Alex is a computer scientist turned entrepreneur who is leading the technological developments enabling independent retailers to compete against larger chains. Over the past 5 years, he has raised $13.8 m from a range of investors, including eBay and Google. Alex is also actively involved in the UK start up ecosystem, by simultaneously building his own company and taking on the role of mentor and advisor for various events. Previously a member of the inaugural cohort of EntrepreneurFirst, Europe’s leading pre-seed investment programme for technical founders, Alex was included in both the global and European Forbes 30 under 30 lists of 2016.

Maria Lucia Hohan
Maria Lucia Hohan

Fashion Designer and CEO of fashion brand Maria Lucia Hohan and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Maria Lucia is an internationally renowned fashion designer, who has seen her clothes worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna. After working several years in Paris and Milan as a textile designer, Maria Lucia returned home to Romania to open her own shop with a modest 800 euros investment and two second-hand sewing machines. After gaining a substantial number of followers on social media and being discovered by Hollywood, she currently runs her renowned fashion brand with 70-woman employees from Bucharest. Additionally, Maria Lucia is a strong advocate for women’s rights and has publicly criticised the excessive consumerism upon which the fashion industry thrives.

Magid Magid
Magid Magid

Founder and Director of Union of Justice and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Magid Magid is a Somali-British race and climate justice activist, organiser and author, who moved to the United Kingdom as a refugee at the age of five. He is the Founder and Director of Union of Justice, an independent European people of colour-led organisation dedicated to racial and climate justice. He is also the Co-Chair of the refugee charity, City of Sanctuary Sheffield. Magid served as a Green Party member of the European Parliament, representing Yorkshire and the Humber for nearly two years until the UK’s exit from the EU. He is the former lord mayor of Sheffield, the youngest person ever and the first Green Party councillor to hold the office. Squatting on a staircase in Sheffield town hall and sporting a pair of Dr Martens, Magid’s inaugural portrait became an internet sensation. Magid was named one of TIME’s 100 rising stars shaping the future of the world.

Photo of Bertalan Meskó
Bertalan Meskó

Founder of The Medical Futurist and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Bertalan is The Medical Futurist and Director of The Medical Futurist Institute analyzing how science fiction technologies can become reality in medicine and healthcare. As a geek physician with a PhD in genomics, he is also an Amazon Top 100 author and a Private Professor at Semmelweis Medical School in Budapest. With 500+ presentations including courses at Harvard, Stanford and Yale Universities, Singularity University’s Futuremed course at NASA Ames campus and organizations including the 10 biggest pharmaceutical companies, he is one of the top voices globally on healthcare technology. Bertalan was featured by dozens of top publications, including CNN, the World Health Organization, National Geographic, Forbes, TIME magazine, BBC, and the New York Times. He publishes his analyses regularly on medicalfuturist.com.

Viktoria Modesta
Viktoria Modesta

Bionic pop artist & futurist and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Viktoria is a British Latvian-born bionic pop artist, creative director and futurist. Describing her work as post-human and post-disability, she bridges performance art, music and fashion with technology, science and medicine. She first gave us a fresh and glamorous perspective of disability in a cultural content when she performed as the Snow Queen during the closing ceremony of Paralympics 2012 wearing a diamond encrusted prosthetic. Viktoria’s futuristic approach on “the body as art concept” got her selected as a Director’s Fellow at MIT Media Lab which led her to collaborate on a more academic level with artists working with technology and science, architects and multiple cultural institutions worldwide.

Roger Montañola i Busquets
Roger Montañola i Busquets

Founder and President of Twenty50 and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Roger Montañola i Busquets

Roger is one of the founding fathers of Twenty50, a think tank that unites the best global talents on a multidisciplinary platform based on cooperation, exchange and thought. Connecting professionals from a wide range of backgrounds and a variety of major cities, Twenty50 maintains that its primary objective is to forge the society of the future. Focusing on technological innovation, the think tank works on a range of issues such as nanorobotics, genomics, AI and virtual reality. As a former MP in the Parliament of Catalonia and as deputy of the Convergència i Unió, Roger was one of the youngest members to join at the age of 24. In 2015, he was selected for the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program by the US State Department.

Photo of Una Mullally
Una Mullally

Writer, LGTBQ activist and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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A leading voice on LGBTQ rights and politics, Una is one of Ireland’s most reputable young activists. As a journalist, broadcaster and author, she has written for prominent news outlets such as The Guardian and the Sunday Tribune, in addition to contributing a weekly column to the Irish Times. Her two books, In The Name Of Love, and her anthropology, Repeal the 8th, trace the historical developments which culminated in the two separate referenda on marriage equality and reproductive rights in Ireland. She was the Independent Chair of Ireland’s National 2018 LGBTI+ Youth Strategy, which is the first of its kind. A poet and screenwriter, she has authored the documentary, I Am Irish, co-founded a music documentary film festival, co-created the pro-choice podcast, Don’t Stop Repealin’, and co-founded the Irish Times Women’s Podcast.

Alfredo Munoz
Alfredo Munoz

Founder & CEO of ABIBOO Studio and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Alfredo is a Spanish architect, who has designed and managed more than six million square metres across five continents. Under Alfredo’s leadership, his architectural, urban and interior design firm has designed projects in a wide range of scales, from large urban developments and affordable housing townships to small temporal structures. Before founding ABIBOO, Alfredo held senior roles at Toyo Ito and SOM. Internationally-renowned, Alfredo was recognised among the most important and emerging young architects and designers by the European Centre and the Chicago Athenaeum Architecture Awards, and his work has been featured in various media outlets, including The New York Times, Wallpaper and Domus, among others.

Matthias Niessner
Matthias Niessner

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

Show more information on Matthias Niessner

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.

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Events

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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