About

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

Start playback
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

Start playback
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

Start playback
Continue to Meet the EYL

Meet the EYL40

Photo of Dionysia Theodora Avgerinopoulou
Dionysia Theodora Avgerinopoulou

Member of the Hellenic Parliament and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Dionysia Theodora Avgerinopoulou

Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou is a Member of the Hellenic Parliament, where she chairs the Environment Committee. She is also the Director of the European Institute of Law, Science and Technology and an attorney-at-law, specialising in international, European and environmental and climate law, as well as international investment law. She has previously served as vice-chair of the Global Water Partnership Organization. Dionysia-Theodora is a leader in environmental and humanitarian activities and has been the recipient of several international awards, including the Global Citizenship Award for Leadership in Assisting Humanity by Orphans International Worldwide and the Green Star Award by UNEP, OCHA and Green Cross International for her contributions in the preparedness and reconstruction in cases of natural disasters.

Danae Bezantakou
Danae Bezantakou

CEO of Navigator Shipping LTD , 2014 European Young Leader

Show more information on Danae Bezantakou

Danae is the Managing director of Navigator Shipping Consultants LTD. One of her important achievements is the organisation of the Navigator Conference since 2001 which is considered to be one of the biggest shipping events gathering the decision makers of the shipping community and speakers from all over the world on an annual basis. Through her participation in lectures and seminars, Danae has travelled the world to promote and strengthen women’s entrepreneurship. Her latest venture includes the foundation of Greek Food Obsessions, a gourmet culinary company providing the Greek and international food market with high quality Greek gourmet products from all over Greece. Danae holds a Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Surrey.

Thomas Douzis
Thomas Douzis

Founder and CEO of ERGON Foods and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Thomas Douzis

Thomas is the Founder and CEO of ERGON Foods, an affordable, high-quality Greek restaurant chain-come-grocery store outlet that now has locations in 13 cities worldwide. Thanks to a network of over 150 independent, local, artisanal producers who create 600 products under the unified ERGON brand, the company is able to offer the widest available range of the best that Greece produce has to offer. A role model and an inspiring entrepreneur, Thomas has set an encouraging example for Greek youths on how to thrive in the face of devastating recession.

Dionysis Grammenos
Dionysis Grammenos

Founder and Music Director of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Dionysis Grammenos

As one of the most charismatic conductors of his generation, Dionysis made his debut at the age of twenty-one with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Since then, he has been awarded with several honours and was the first Greek to receive a Conducting Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival. By the age of twenty, Dionysis had won European Young Musician of the Year Prize and had been featured on a Greek postage stamp. This young virtuoso has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Cité de la Musique in Paris and the Barbican Centre in London and has worked with orchestras such as the Vienna Symphony and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, among others.

Kalliopi Kalaitzi
Kalliopi Kalaitzi

Medical Doctor at Asklepieion Public Hospital and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Kalliopi Kalaitzi

Kalliopi Kalaitzi is a medical doctor in a public hospital in Athens, specialising in physical medicine and rehabilitation with a focus on healthy aging and lifestyle medicine. Having previously worked in the field of aesthetic medicine and plastic surgery for over eight years, Kalliopi has also held a number of executive positions at the drug prevention centre, Serios, and experience working for a variety of NGOs which focus on youth health and drug abuse. She is also the youngest elected official to have served as a prefectural counsellor and as regional commissioner in Greeze. Kalliopi is the Co-Founder of the BrainGain Initiative, which aims to reverse brain drain in Greece. She currently serves as member of the board member of the Greek Cardiology Foundation and the president of an NGO, which focuses on prenatal, maternal and women’s health.

Konstantinos Karagkounis
Konstantinos Karagkounis

Member of the Hellenic Parliament and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Konstantinos Karagkounis

Konstantinos is a Member of the Hellenic Parliament since June 2009, serving as Deputy Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights for the Hellenic Parliament. He is also an attorney by profession practicing in Athens. He received a first degree in Law from the National and Kapodestrian University of Athens and an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from the University of London (UEL) from which he graduated with honours. Afterwards he continued his studies at the University of Edinburgh specialising in intellectual property. In 2011 Konstantinos attended the “Leadership for the 21st Century” programme at Harvard.

Photo of Domna Michailidou
Domna Michailidou

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

Show more information on Domna Michailidou

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.

Photo of Michael Printzos
Michael Printzos

Director of Programming at the Hellenic Initiative and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Michael Printzos

Michael has over 15 years of experience in the commercialisation of R&D results, innovation consultation and non-profit management, having worked for several companies and organisations across the globe and participated as a trainer and speaker at conferences on philanthropy and the concept of giving. He currently serves as the Director of Programming at The Hellenic Initiative, a global, non-profit and secular institution which aims to mobilise support and investment for sustainable economic renewal in Greece. He has overseen the Hellenic Initiative’s philanthropic work since the institution’s founding, having managed over $16.5mn in support of the future of Greece. Michael is also the co-owner of Green Systems, an engineering procurement and construction company in Athens, and Brainomix, a start-up company that develops medical imaging software to assess the eligibility of acute stroke patients for life saving treatment. He serves as a committee member of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, dedicated to achieving Greek competitiveness through properly informing and adequately motivating business employees.

Matina Stevis-Gridneff
Matina Stevis-Gridneff

Africa Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Matina Stevis-Gridneff

Based in Nairobi, Matina covers economics and investment across Africa for the Wall Street Journal. She was previously based in Belgium, where she covered the eurozone crisis from the WSJ Brussels bureau. Before joining the WSJ, she wrote for the Economist, where she won the 2010 Marjorie Deane financial journalism award. Matina is particularly interested in migration-related issues in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. In 2015, she was one of the few foreign journalists reporting from Eritrea as part of an exclusive investigation into Eritrean refugees. She has written for other top media outlets such as Eleftherotypia and the Guardian and has appeared as a political commentator on European and Greek affairs on Al Jazeera English and the BBC.

Photo of Dimitris Tsigos
Dimitris Tsigos

Founder and CEO at Starttech Ventures and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Dimitris Tsigos

Dimitris Tsingos is a serial tech entrepreneur and early stage investor. He is the Founder and CEO of Startech Ventures, a private venture builder and seed investor in Greece. The first Greek seed fund member of the European Business Angels Network, the group has helped launch more than ten successful IT start-ups. Dimitris has been at the helm of various start-ups, including Epignosis, Yodeck, Cycleops and Testilio, among others, and most notably AbZorba Games, a mobile gaming service which was acquired by Novomatic. A passionate European federalist and co-author of the Rome Manifesto, Dimitris initiated the People’s Movement for the European Federal Union. He has also founded the Hellenic Business Angel Network and the Hellenic Start-up Association, a collective effort of Greek start-up entrepreneurs promoting high-growth and innovative entrepreneurship in Greece. He is also the former president of the leading organisation of youth entrepreneurship in Europe, the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs, and a former fellow at the Marshall Memorial and PSL Research University.

Maria Vlachou
The late Maria Vlachou

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Fereikos and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on The late Maria Vlachou

Maria was the CEO of Fereikos-Helix, a company that oversees the development of organic snail farming globally and CEO of Maria Vlachou LTD, specialising in the branding, packaging and export of Greek high-quality agricultural products. In 2011, Maria she was awarded the Greek Entrepreneur of the Year prize and in 2013, she was included in the Fortune list of “40 under 40” in Greece. In addition, she was on the advisory board of Hellenic Start-Up Association and mentor at several start-up initiatives such as Startup live Athens.

Maria left us too soon on 24 July 2019.

Continue to Events

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

Continue to Partners

Videos

view more
Track title

Category

00:0000:00
Stop playback
Video title

Category

Close

We use cookies to improve your online experience.
For more information, visit our privacy policy

Africa initiative logo

Dismiss