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Bold leadership, ground-breaking ideas, unparalleled passion …

For almost a decade the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme has brought together the brightest minds and outside the box leaders to put their innovative thinking to work at building a more forward-thinking Europe that is a global champion for a better world. The European Young Leaders represent a new generation of leaders, able to tackle the increasing disconnects between citizens and political elites, to rebuild the trust that is vital to democracies.

These promising and established leaders come from a variety of backgrounds including politics, business, civil society, arts, science and the media.

The 2020-2021 Class of European Young Leaders:


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

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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

Hera Hussain
Hera Hussain

Founder of CHAYN and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Hera is a Scottish activist, feminist and tech expert. Passionate about empowering women, she created CHAYN as a global project run by volunteers that crowdsources online resources to address gender-based violence. CHAYN has reached more than 300,000 people through its projects targeted to helping survivors of abuse. Hera is a fervent believer in the power of open source technology and open data as a tool to solve the world’s pressing issues. When she is not busy running CHAYN, Hera works with governments and civil society seeking to open data sets as a way to fight corruption.

Qëndron Kastrati
Qëndron Kastrati

Mayor of the Municipality of Kamenica, Kosovo, and European Young Leader

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Qëndron is the youngest mayor in Kosovo, having been elected to lead the town of Kamenica at only 29. He is known for his progressive approach, having a predominantly female cabinet. As mayor, he has been resolute in his mission to make his town a genuinely multi-ethnic community and to bridge existing ethnic divides. He reformed the local education system and created a joint multi-ethnic school for Albanians, Serbs and Roma children. He has also walked the talk by installing translation booths in the municipal assembly, so Serbs can participate fully in meetings.

Kamal Kharmach
Kamal Kharmach

Belgian Stand-Up Comedian, Economics Professor at the Karel de Grote University and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Kamal is one of the rising stars of the Belgian stand-up comedy scene, winner of several awards. He openly tackles sensitive and personal issues, such as obesity, discrimination and social injustice. Kamal was previously the Director of the Flemish-Moroccan culture house Daarkom. This cultural organisation seeks to bring about cultural exchange between diverse groups. Kamal is also a well-known TV host. An immigrant and stand-up comedian, he uses his platform to bring light to social abuses through a positive and humorous approach. His mix of television shows range from providing economic guidance for struggling companies, to blending comedy with politics.

Meeri Koutaniemi
Meeri Koutaniemi

Photographer, Documentary Filmmaker, Cinematographer and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Meeri is an internationally renowned Finnish photographer and journalist, admired for her coverage of and portraits on human rights, minorities and empowerment. She garnered significant attention for her work on female genital mutilation in Kenya. This won her the Visa D’or Daily Press Award at France’s most prestigious photojournalism festival, Visa pour l’Image, and the Freelens Award at the Lumix Photo Festival in Hannover. She is also a seasoned documentary filmmaker, focusing her attention on disadvantaged groups such as the ‘Findian’ community in the US or transsexual Mayans in Mexico.

Ivan Lesay
Ivan Lesay

Co-Founder and CEO of Slovak Investment Holding, 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 Domna Michailidou
Domna Michailidou

Greek Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Domna is a Greek deputy minister and economist working on growth strategy, capital markets and public finance. She was previously reforms’ advisor to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Leader of New Democracy and Greek Prime Minister. Domna has advised several governmental and non-governmental institutions including the UN Development Programme, the British Council and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). She has also worked for the OECD in Paris and Athens as an economist and competition expert. In addition to her governmental work, Domna teaches economics courses at Cambridge and University College London and has written a number of publications and books.

Balint Misetics
Bàlint Misetics

Founder of The City is For All and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Bálint is a Hungarian social policy specialist whose work integrates research, advocacy and fieldwork. Currently serving as the senior advisor on social and housing policy for the Mayor of Budapest, he is also the co-founder of The City is For All, a community organization dedicated to advancing housing justice and empowering people experiencing homelessness. A fervent believer in the need to address the root cause of housing and economic inequality rather than the symptom of homelessness itself, Bálint has succeeded in significantly impacting the discourse and politics surrounding homelessness and housing poverty in Hungary. He also set up and coordinates an emergency service which combines social work and non-violent resistance to prevent the eviction of impoverished families.

Alexandre Perez Casares
Alexandre Pérez Casares

Co-Founder of Fever, President of The Altius Society and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Alexandre is a Spanish engineer and entrepreneur. He is President and Co-Founder of The Altius Society, a renowned international non-profit which combines the knowledge of Nobel laureates, leading researchers and policymakers to better understand the impact of technology on future societies. He also co-founded Fever, a tech start-up which is disrupting the ‘experience economy’ as it allows its users to browse and book nearby events from a curated collection of places and pop-ups in over a dozen cities around the world. Alexandre has been recognised for his work by the Spanish Ministry of Education with the prestigious National Prize, awarded to Spain’s top three engineers.

Tomas Petříček
Tomáš Petříček

Former Czech minister for foreign affairs and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Tomáš is a leading politician from the Czech Social Democratic Party. A long-time activist, he quickly climbed through the ranks, rising from MEP assistant to deputy minister and minister of Foreign Affairs. Tomáš has gained a reputation as a firm supporter of the European project and a strong advocate for human rights. He has notably been vocal about the Jamal Khashoggi assassination, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights. Tomáš has also called for the adoption of the UN Global Migration Pact to ensure safe international immigration.

Jonathan Petrides
Jonathan Petrides

Co-Founder and CEO of AllPlants and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Jonathan is an innovative Cypriot serial entrepreneur who is convinced that the best thing to do for the planet is to inspire far more people to eat plants. He launched a successful vegan ready meals business in 2016. From their kitchen in London they use bold flavours and hyper convenience to bring more plants onto plates across the UK. With chef-made plant-based food delivered nationwide, they are inspiring more people to eat healthily and in turn are helping the planet. Since launching the company, he has received a number of culinary awards for pushing the boundaries. Constantly striving to bring innovative people together and easing citizens’ lives, Jonathan previously launched a Kenyan mobile banking app and a network of rural health centres.

CRISTINA POZZI
Cristina Pozzi

Board Member, COO and Head of Contents at Treccani Futura and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Cristina is Board Member, COO and Head of Contents Treccani Futura, the new Italian cultural and education Edtech hub born from the acquisition by Treccani Scuola of Impactscool, the company she co-founded and guided as CEO for 5 years. Cristina is a populizer, a social entrepreneur and an active citizen with the aim to impact society positively. After selling Wish Days, co-founded in 2006 with Andrea Dusi, she created a social enterprise (Impactscool) in order to bring awareness about the future and innovative education to schools, universities and organizations on technologies, ethics and future studies tools. Her mission is to give everyone access to the future in the global – fast changing society in the midst of the 4th industrial revolution. Her motto is “the future is open source”: shaped together as a co-creation activity and accessible to everyone.

Thanks to the work done with Impactscool and to her previous experiences she has been invited to join the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum (2019-2024) in 2019 and the EYL40 community in 2020.

She is also member of the International Advisory Board of the Institute for Ethical AI in Education and Independent Advisor in the advisory board of Fondo Italiano d’Investimento SGR.

Books: “Benvenuti nel 2050” (EGEA, 2019), “Destination 2050” (BUP, 2020).

Mate Rimac
Mate Rimac

Founder of Rimac Automobil and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Mate is a Croatian innovator, entrepreneur, and founder of the car company Rimac Automobili. He started off at the age of 19 in a borrowed garage, tinkering, dreaming, and already thinking several years ahead of the traditional car industry. Soon enough, he built a global name for himself, crafting battery tech for the likes of Aston Martin and Renault. He also created the world’s first electric ‘supercar’, the Rimac Concept One. In 2012, he set out to prove that electric cars could be faster than conventional fuel. His dream became reality, as Mate’s ‘Green Monster’ electric car won a Guinness World Record for the fastest ¼ mile. He’s received widespread recognition and support for his projects, including USD 90 mi investment from Hyundai and Kia.

Anne-Solene Rolland
Anne-Solène Rolland

Head of the Museum Department at the French Ministry of Culture and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Anne-Solène heads the department of museums at the French Ministry of Culture. A fierce advocate for history and heritage, she has shaped her career around showcasing the societal benefits of cultural conservation. As a curator of heritage, she has held leading positions at the prestigious Quai Branly Museum and the French National Museum of Immigration History. Anne-Solène has also been director of research and collections at the Louvre Museum, where she oversaw the acquisition and lending of the museum’s artwork. She played an instrumental role in increasing the availability of the world’s finest art to a greater number of people.

Marcelino Sambe
Marcelino Sambé

Principal Dancer with The Royal Ballet in London and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Marcelino, from Portugal, is a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet in London. Born in the outskirts of Lisbon, Marcelino discovered from an early age a talent and passion for dance, and was accepted to the National Conservatory of Lisbon, before joining The Royal Ballet Upper School. He rapidly made a name for himself in the ballet world, garnering rave reviews from critics for his portrayals in Don Quixote and Les Patineurs. Sambé’s dance awards include a silver medal at the Moscow International ballet competition, first prize at the Youth American Grand Prix and a gold medal at the USA International ballet competition.

Johannes Schildt
Johannes Schildt

Co-Founder and CEO of KRY/LIVI and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Johannes is a Swedish serial entrepreneur and Co-Founder of KRY, which he plans to develop into the world’s leading healthcare provider by combining medical expertise with state-of-the-art technology. Currently available in Sweden, Norway, France and the UK, the business has pioneered the digital healthcare model by enabling people to see a medical doctor or a psychologist via remote video connection, thereby replacing the need for in-person consultations. To date, the app has delivered over 1.1mn appointments and is set to launch in more markets this year. Long part of Europe’s start-up scene, Johannes is also the founder of a number of other initiatives including Tieday Group and Wowallets.

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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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