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

Krzysztof Candrowicz
Krzysztof Candrowicz

Director, Foundation of Visual Education and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Since 2014, Krzysztof has been the Director of the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg. He has also previously worked as the  Founder and Director of the Lodz Art Centre and the Foundation of Visual Education in the city of Lodz. The Foundation is responsible for the International Festival of Photography, held annually since 2001, which is one of the largest photographic events in Europe. As Director and Chief Curator of this event, Krysztof has established an association of 30 European festivals of photography, called ‘Photo Festival Union’. He is the creator of the Lodz-European Capital of Culture campaign. In 2008 he was named Lodz Citizen of the Year.

Elena Fenili
Elena Fenili

Head of Credit & Integrated risks initiatives, UniCredit and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Elena is Head of Political Studies at UniCredit Group. She previously worked at the Italian Representation to the United Nations in New York, where she participated in negotiations on humanitarian issues and African conflicts during the 58th session of the General Assembly. In 2002, she worked at the General Management Office for Economic and Financial Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome. She is Treasurer of the RENA project (National Excellence Network) and an active volunteer in the Italian Children’s Hospital Association (ABIO). Author of various publications on subjects such as European economic growth, in 2010 she was included in the ‘Youth Talent’ list produced by the Italian Ministry of Youth.

Javier Gonzalez
Javier Gonzalez

Entrepreneur and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Javier is an entrepreneur and founder of a number of award-winning technology start-ups, which have been backed by top venture capital funds and multinational corporations. Javier is currently a shareholder and board member of several tech companies, prior to which he was the international director of Digimarc Corporation and served in management roles for various start-ups, including Alvento and Mobile 365 Inc. He founded aquaMobile SL, a mobile value-added services provider based in Madrid, which became one of the most successful digital watermarking solutions companies during his time as CEO. He is also the co-founder of the tMA Foundation, which encourages innovation and entrepreneurial projects in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and operates FabLab León, a member of MIT’s FabLab Network and host of the Fab Academy training program.

Jacek Legiewicz
Jacek Legiewicz

Head of Public Affairs at Samsung Electronics and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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In addition to his role as Public Affairs Director for Samsung, Jacek is a Member of the Supervisory Board for ElekroEko, which Poland’s largest organisation for the recovery and management of electronic waste and recycling. Jacek spent seven years at CEC Government Relations, the leading independent public affairs agency in Central Europe. In parallel to his corporate career, he has been active in the IT industry as Vice President of the Polish IT and Telecom Chamber and a Member of the Executive Board of Digital Europe. Jacek has also been active in local and national politics: he was a Parliamentary candidate in 1997 and former Advisor to the Minister of Youth and Family Affairs.

Christian Mandl
Christian Mandl

Managing Partner at Neulogy Ventures and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Christian is the owner and Chairman of Maporama Solutions, a company specialising in the visualisation of enterprise data on maps. He became a well-known after co-founding Central Europe’s first low-cost airline, SkyEurope, in 2001. He took SkyEurope to the stock market in 2005, staying on to manage the firm until 2007 when he exited to focus on new ventures. He is also Managing Director of Danube Consulting, a company that provides advisory services to investors in Central and Eastern Europe. He is involved in the development of several projects, including the establishment of a venture capital fund to promote R&D in Slovakia, as well as renewable energy initiatives.

Raffaele Mauro
Raffaele Mauro

Managing Director, Endeavor Italy and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Raffaele is Investment Manager at Annapurna Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on early stage investments in web services, mobile applications and digital technology. He holds a PhD in Economic History from Bocconi University and is Adjunct Professor at the Collegio di Milano, where he teaches courses on entrepreneurship, network economics and the social science of the Internet. He also advises the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy and is Co-founder of www.lospaziodellapolitica.com. He previously worked as an editor for Harvard Business Review’s Italian Edition and in various branches of Confindustria developing projects and conducting research related to emerging markets, entrepreneurship and corporate finance. He is also quite active in the public debate as a political blogger. He has received many awards and accolades including being accepted into the McKinsey EuroAcademy in 2008, and was chosen by the Italian government as one of the top 200 ‘national talents’ in 2010.

João Wengorovius Meneses
João Wengorovius Meneses

Secretary General, BSCD Portugal and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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João is the Secretary General of the Business Council for Sustainable Development in Portugal (BCSD Portugal), a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Global Network. Prior to assuming his current role, João held several roles in the public, private and non profit sectors. He served as Secretary of State for Youth and Sports in the Portuguese Government, had several roles in the Portuguese startup ecosystem (as head of Startup Discoveries, a venture capital fund, head of the REACTOR – Innovation Hub, and head of the Mouraria Creative Hub). He also served as director of GABIP Mouraria, a mission unit reporting to the mayor of Lisbon that led the rehabilitation of Mouraria – in the past a deprived area in the center of Lisbon, but also its most traditional and multicultural quarter. Finally, he’s the founder of HUB 2050, a consulting firm acting in the field of innovation for sustainability, and author of two books about management and innovation.»

Martin Ott
Martin Ott

Entrepreneur, Investor, Board Member of AfriKids and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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With 20 years of leadership experience in the digital industry, Martin advises companies from start-ups to leading global brands on their growth opportunities in the digital world. Martin currently serves a Board Member of AfriKids, an NGO which supports sustainable development projects in Ghana. He is the former president and managing director of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at WeWork, in which role he led the restructuring of the company in the EMEA region and was responsible for the cross-functionality of the real estate, finance, product, operations, sales and marketing teams. Martin has also held several leadership roles at Facebook, including managing director of Central Europe, regional director of Africa, the Middle East, Israel and Turkey, as well as managing director of Northern Europe. Prior to joining Facebook, Martin was co-CEO of Skrill, one of Europe’s fastest growing fintech unicorns, and COO of Jamba, a global mobile content provider.

Dominik Risse
Dominik Risse

Vice President Rubber Additives Business at Lanxess and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Dominik has held various management roles at Lanxess, a leading global specialty chemicals group, throughout his career. Prior to his current role in rubber additives, Dominik has worked in mergers and acquisitions, colorants and rubber chemicals, which included a four-year assignment in Southeast Asia. His political record includes activities at both the regional and national levels for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), as well as for the Young Union of Germany and the Economic Council of the CDU.

Sara García Ruiz
Sara García Ruiz

Engineer, S.A. de Electronica Submarina (SAES) and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Sara García Ruiz

Sara is an engineer at S.A. de Electronica Submarina (SAES), a company specialised in submarine electronics and acoustics. Prior to this, she was a Member of the Murcian regional Parliament where she served as First Secretary of the Defense Committee as well as a Member of the Science and Innovation and Equality Committees. She has been a Member of the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party since she was 16. She studied communications engineering and has worked in the defence policy sector. She stands for male-female parity in Spain’s politics and for the presence of members of parliament of all ages.

Aziz Senni
Aziz Senni

Founder and President, Alliance Transport et Accompagnement and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Aziz Senni

Aziz is a young French entrepreneur, Founder and President of Alliance Transport et Accompagnement, a ‘collective taxi’ company for the region of Paris, and Founder and President of Business Angel des Cités, a social investment fund for the development of Parisian suburban areas. Aziz has published two books in France, the first on the ‘social glass ceiling’ entitled L’ascenseur social est en panne… j’ai pris l’escalier (The social elevator is broken, I took the stairs), and the second, Monte ton BIZ (Create your own business: 10 commandments of the entrepreneur coming from suburbs) on how to become a successful entrepreneur when coming from a under-privileged neighbourhood. He has received several awards from the French government including the Médaille de l’Assemblée nationale (the National Assembly Medal).

Farid Tabarki
Farid Tabarki

Founder and Director of Studio Zeitgeist and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Farid Tabarki

Farid is a researcher, writer, presenter and entrepreneur. At Studio Zeitgeist, Farid coordinates research and develops projects at the local, national and European levels on topics such as radical decentralisation, racial transparency and the liquid society. Fabrid is also a weekly columnist for Het Financieele Dagblad, a Dutch daily newspaper focusing on finance and economy, and the author of “The End of the Middle – What society of extremes means to people, businesses and government”. He is the former editor in chief and presenter at Coolpolitics, an organisation which encourages younger generations to share their roles as citizens. He has presented the parliamentary election edition of MTV Coolpolitics and the television program Dare to Think, from Socrates to Sartre. Farid is a member of the supervisory board of Stadgenoot, Prince Bernhard Culture Fund and International Theatre Amsterdam. He is also a member of the Netherlands Architect Institute and the Foundation for Democracy and Media.

Mathieu Vedrenne
Mathieu Vedrenne

Chief Executive Officer at Société Générale Private Banking France and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Mathieu Vedrenne

Mathieu is Chief Executive Officer of Société Générale Private Banking France, prior to which he was Deputy CEO at the company’s Swiss branch. Before taking on these positions, he was Chief of Staff to the CEO of Société Générale, one of the major banking services companies in Europe. He joined the company in 2001, after having worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers for 3 years, and quickly climbed the professional ladder within the company. He was selected for the company’s Executive Programme for the top performing employees. He is a sponsor of the 2010-2012 HEC Entrepreneur Diversity Programme and is a Member of the Executive Committee of the Fondation Croissance Responsable (Responsible Growth Foundation).

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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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