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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

Katharina Borchert
Katharina Borchert

Chief Innovation Officer at Mozilla Foundation and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Katharina is the Chief Innovation Officer at Mozilla Foundation. She is a German journalists and previously was the managing director of Spiegel Online, the leading German news web site, where she was responsible for the commercial aspects and the long-term strategic development of the company. Previously she was editor-in-chief and Online Director of the WAZ Media Group, and was an independent writer focusing on technology and the socio-political implications of the digital age. She became one of the best known German-speaking bloggers, winning several awards, including ‘Young Journalist of the Year’ in 2006. She has also participated in humanitarian work in Africa and Bosnia.

Franziska Katharina Brantner
Franziska Katharina Brantner

Member of the Bundestag, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Franziska Katharina Brantner

Franziska is a German politician, who currently serves as a member of the Germany federal parliament for Alliance 90/The Greens, representing the constituency of Heidelberg. She is the Parliamentary Secretary for her parliamentary group and Spokesperson for European Policy. In addition to these roles, she is a Member of the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union and Deputy Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. She also chairs the Subcommittee on Civil Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Networked Action. Prior to this, Franziska was a member of the European Parliament, where her work focused on foreign affairs, conflict resolution and rapid crisis response. She also conducted negotiations on the reform of the European External Action Service. Before entering politics, Franziska worked for the Bertelsmann Foundation and the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

Souad Mekhennet
Souad Mekhennet

National Security Reporter at The Washington Post and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Souad is a German journalist of Turkish and Moroccan descent who works for prestigious international magazines, newspapers and TV channels, such as The New York Times, ZDF and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. She specialises in stories relating to terrorist organisations and Islam, and she recently covered the Egyptian demonstrations at the height of the Arab Spring. She is also Co-author of two German language books that deal with the issues of political Islam and jihad, The Children of Jihad and Islam. In 2009 the independent jury of the magazine medium named her one of the Top 3 reporters in German speaking countries. Souad is also the author of the book ‘I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad’, published in 2017.

Martin Ott
Martin Ott

EMEA Managing Director for We Company and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Martin Ott is EMEA Managing Director for We Company. He was previously Managing Director Central Europe at Facebook, responsible for the development of Facebook’s business in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux and Eastern Europe. With more than 15 years of leadership experience in the digital industry, he advises companies from start-ups to leading global brands on their growth opportunities in the digital world. Prior to joining Facebook in 2012, Martin built one of Europe‘s fastest growing payment unicorns as the Co-Chief Executive Office of Skrill Group in London. With 30M users, Skrill (formerly known as Moneybookers) was an early pioneer in offering global money transfer services. Previously the COO of Jamba/Jamster, he oversaw marketing, services and content as well as building and operating the consumer business, leading up to the groups’s acquisition by News Corporation. He also supports the board of trustees of AfriKids, a London headquartered NGO which supports sustainable development projects in Ghana.

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.

Photo of Jens Spahn
Jens Spahn

Ministry of Health, Germany and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Jens is the Federal Minister of Health in the Cabinet of Angela Merkel. He has been a member of the Bundestag since 2002, with responsibility for health policies, and a Member of the CDU/CSU Youth Group. He has gathered his experience in government during his time as the Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Finance, a post he has held since July 2015. He holds a degree in Banking and Political Science from the University of Hagen, and previously worked as a banker in his hometown of Munster. Jens is a founding member of the ‘Young Member of Parliament’ cross-party group that promotes integration and equality in politics and society.

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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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