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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

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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

Jesse Klaver
Jesse Klaver

Member of the Dutch House of Representatives, Leader of the Dutch green party GroenLinks and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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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 instrumental in capturing 10 additional parliamentary seats, 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.

Elisabeth Köstinger
Elisabeth Köstinger

Austrian Minister for Sustainability and Tourism and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Elisabeth is an Austrian politician and the current Federal Minister for Sustainability, Agriculture and Tourism in the Austrian government. Previously, Elisabeth was the President of the National Council, the first chamber of the Austrian Parliament, and 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.

Helena Linder-Jess
Helena Linder-Jess

Military Attachée for the Embassy of Germany to the United States of America and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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As the first woman as Commanding Officer in the German Navy (FGS Datteln), Helena has participated in several international missions under the United Nations and NATO with her crew. In this role, she has been responsible for all issues concerning her ship, crew and assignments, including extensive training and combat cycles. Helena is the first woman ever to take over the command of a German navy ship.

Gottfried Ludewig
Gottfried Ludewig

Head of the Directorate General for Digitalisation and Innovation at the German Ministry of Health and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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In his current position, Gottfried is advancing the digitalisation and innovative capacity of Germany’s health sector. Prior to this, he was 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 was particularly committed to strengthening research and innovation in the healthcare 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.
He is also an alumni of the European Young Leader (EYL40) programme led by Friends of Europe.

Photo of Sammy Mahdi
Sammy Mahdi

Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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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.

Roberta Metsola
Roberta Metsola

Vice-President of the European Parliament and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Roberta is Vice-President of the European Parliament and serves as a member on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, among several other parliamentary committees and delegations. A lawyer by profession, Roberta is a member of the European People’s Party Group (EPP) and among the first female members of parliament to represent Malta. She is a two-time recipient of Parliament Magazine’s MEP Award, receiving recognition for her work on justice and civil liberties, and hosted the awards ceremony in 2017.

Brune Poirson
Brune Poirson

Chief Sustainability Officer at Accor and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Brune is the Chief Sustainability Officer and a Member of the Executive Committee at Accor, a multinational hospitality company. Her role includes defining, driving and monitoring commitments, strategy and rollout of Accor’s plans in relation to sustainable development. She is also responsible for the Accor Solidarity and ALL Heartists endowment funds and additionally serves on the Board of Trustees of Fondation de la Mer. During her tenure as a member of the French National Assembly, Brune served as the secretary of state to the French Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition and became the first French minister elected as vice-president of the United Nations Environment Assembly. She was previously the director of sustainability and social responsibility for South Asia at Veolia, where projects focused on drinking water distribution in the slums of Indian megacities, and a coordinator of sustainability projects at the French Development Agency in New Delhi.

Lia Quartapelle
Lia Quartapelle

Member of the Italian parliament, Research Fellow at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Lia is a rising star in Italian politics. She is the Leader of the Democratic Party in the Committee on Foreign and European Affairs, as well as the Head of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the National Secretariat. In her work, Lia focuses on human rights, developing economies and Africa. In addition to serving as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council, Lia is the President of the Italian Chapter of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) and of the Italian section of the Women in International Security (WIIS) network. As a Research Fellow, Lia coordinates the activities of Africa programme at ISPI and lectures on policies for development cooperation at the University of Pavia. She has published a number of reports and articles on, Italian development aid strategies, as well as economist development and aid effectiveness in Africa. Prior to her current roles, Lia worked for the Mozambique government as an economist and policy development analyst.

Nasima Razmyar
Nasima Razmyar

Member of Parliament and Deputy Mayor of Helsink, National Parliament, Finland and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Nasima Razmyar

Nasima is an Afghan-Finnish politician, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki and a former member of the Finnish Parliament, representing the Social Democratic Party. She also works with Finnish NGOs that work to promote gender and ethnic equality in Finland. Nasima’s family first moved to Finland from Afghanistan in 1992, and her refugee experience has shaped her political career, in which she prioritises social welfare such as education, the environment, and housing. Nasima is the first Member of Finnish Parliament to have a refugee background, and in 2010 was named refugee woman of the year by the Finnish Refugee Council for her work to promote equality and the preservation of the Finnish welfare system.

Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, The Scottish Government and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Humza Yousaf

“Since July 2018 : Cabinet Secretary for Justice.
Humza is the Scottish Government Minister for Transport and Islands. Despite his young age, Yousaf has already served for four years as Scotland’s first minister for Europe and International Development, apart from other positions in the public service. At 27, he became the youngest minister in the Scottish Government’s history as well as the first ever minister from an ethnic minority background.While delivering his oath of allegiance, he notably, embraced his British-Pakistani heritage and British multiculturalism while wearing a kilt and speaking in Urdu. He has been involved in community work, being a spokesperson and volunteer on several issues related to homelessness and asylum seekers and has been described as a “role model for all Scots”.”

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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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