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

Diane Binder
Diane Binder

Founding Partner and CEO of Regenopolis and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Diane Binder is a business executive and social entrepreneur, with extensive experience in developing public-private alliances which promote urban resilience, climate adaptation and mitigation. She is a Founding Partner and CEO of Regenopolis, an initiative for regenerative cities in Africa. In addition to serving as a member of the French Presidential Council for Africa, Diane is also the President and Co-Founder of Action Emploi Réfugiés. She previously worked at SUEZ, a leader in water supply and waste management services.

Photo of John Collison
John Collison

Co-Founder and President of Stripe and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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John Collison is president and co-founder of Stripe, the software company that is expanding internet commerce by making it easy to process transactions from anywhere. John and his brother Patrick started Stripe in 2010 while John was studying physics at Harvard. Their goal was to make accepting payments online simpler and more inclusive, after learning firsthand how difficult it was. Today, the 1700-person and growing Stripe team powers online businesses around the world. Prior to Stripe, John co-founded Auctomatic, which was acquired by Live Current Media in March 2008. Originally from Limerick, Ireland, John lives in San Francisco, California, where Stripe is based.

Sébastien de Halleux
Sébastien de Halleux

Founding General Partner at Graph Ventures and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Sebastien de Halleux is a Founder and General Partner at Graph Ventures, an early stage angel fund with a portfolio of over 180 start-ups, including Blue Apron, Ipsy, Envoy and Figure. Prior to this, Sebastien served as the COO of Saildrone, a company which revolutionaised data collection at sea through the use of wind and solar powered ocean drones. He is also the co-founder and former COO of Playfish, which was one of the largest and fastest growing social gaming companies with over 300mn players before it was acquired by video game giant Electronic Arts in 2009. Sebastien also helped launched Glu Mobile, an early pioneer in mobile games. He is the recipient of the 2012 EA Emerging Leaders Award, the 2011 Tech 100 Award, the 2010 TechFellow Award and the 2003 Booz Allen Professional Excellence Award, and has served on the boards of Saildrone, Samasource, Vittana, UWC-USA, the Solar Fuel Institute and Trusted Family.

Alexandre Farto
Alexandre Farto

Artist, Galeria Vera Cortês and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Alexandre, known under the tag name ‘Vhils’, is a Portuguese street artist, best known for his urban murals, his use of urban settings – walls, doors, debris – as ‘canvasses’ or materials for his art, as well as the destructive processes by which he constructs art. Alexandre studied in London, and gained prominence when his work was showcased at the Cans Festival in London. As well as technically and visually innovative, Alexandre’s art has a social function as it attempts to cast a spotlight on situations of social injustice, and to create a dialogue around these. His work has since continued to gain recognition, with his work appearing in cities worldwide and he has been featured alongside street artists of the likes of Banksy.

Cristina Fonseca
Cristina Fonseca

Venture Partner at Indico Capital Partners and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Cristina is a software engineer and tech entrepreneur, who co-founded one of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing companies, Talkdesk, a platform that allows anyone to quickly create a call centre online. Following this success, she became a venture partner at Indico Capital Partners, the first Portuguese private venture capital fund investing in early-stage, tech-focused start-ups. Her organisation focuses on sectors such as Artificial Intelligence, fintech, and cybersecurity. Previously, Cristina worked as a researcher at INESC-ID, a Portuguese non-profit institution conducting advanced research in electronics, energy, telecommunications and information technologies.

Daire Hickey
Daire Hickey

Managing Partner at 150Bond and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Daire is the Managing Partner at 150 Bond, a strategic advisory firm based between New York and Dublin, which advises fast-growing tech companies, venture capitalists and Fortune 500s. He also co-founded Web Summit, Europe’s largest tech start-up event and the largest technology conference in the world. In this role, he has facilitated a number of tech conferences across the United States and Europe. Daire has previously written for top publications in Ireland as a journalist and worked at Irish broadcaster, RTÉ. An active angel investor who also sits on the advisory boards of several companies, Daire has received recognition as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and on the Forbes’ ‘30 under 30’ list.

Kristel Kruustuk
Kristel Kruustuk

Co-Founder and Chief Testing Officer of Testilo and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Kristel Kruustuk

As the Founder of and Chief Testing Officer of Testlio, Kristel leads a professional testing platform that helps software developers by connecting them to the best testers all over the world. The rapidly growing business has already raised more than $6.25mn in investment capital and works with a roster of major US and international clients, including Microsoft, Amazon, CBS and Etsy.

Rebeca Minguela
Rebeca Minguela

Founder and CEO of Clarity AI and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Rebeca Minguela

As Founder of Clarity AI, Rebeca looks to solve the problem of inefficient and unequal allocation of capital by building an automated tool which rates the investment portfolios of a range of projects, companies, governments and NGOs. Rebeca is also the Founder of the Blink Booking mobile app, an award-winning last-minute booking app that is a market leader in Europe with more than 800,000 downloads, almost 3,000 hotels and available in six languages before its sale to Groupon. Previously, Rebeca served as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and as engineer at the German Aerospace Agency, Siemens and IBM.

Claudia Olsson
Claudia Olsson

Founder and CEO of Stellar Capacity and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Claudia Olsson

Claudia is the Founder and CEO of Stellar Capacity, a global educational platform, which trains and empowers leaders and professionals to drive digital change through various programmes on business and operational models, the impact of digital developments, as well as digital skills and productivity. The platform operates under Exponential AB, a global consultancy also founded by Claudia, where she previously served as CEO. Exponential AB specialises in strategic advice, analysis and progression development related to personal leadership and digital transformation. Claudia has helped governments and businesses alike understand the impact of new technologies and smart solutions in addressing global challenges. She authored the strategic innovation agenda for the Swedish steel and metal industry, as well as the Sweden 2030 Future Scenario for the Government of Sweden. Claudia has previously worked on issues related to healthcare access, having established and manages ACCESS Health International, a think tank which promotes access to high quality and affordable health care for all.

Tomáš Žáček
Tomáš Žáček

CEO, Ecocapsule and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Tomáš Žáček

Tomas is an award-winning Slovakian architect. Apart from being a partner at the architectural firm Nice&Wise, he is the Co-founder, CEO and Design Director of Ecocapsule, a start-up that designed a portable house with long off-grid life span, worldwide portability and flexibility. As such, the Ecocapsule is suitable for a wide range of applications: from an independent research station or a tourist lodge to an emergency housing or a humanitarian-action unit. For this project, Tomas won the People’s Choice Award at the Start-up Awards Slovakia and the Silver Medal at the K-design Awards in Korea.

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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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