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

Ana Antunes
Ana Antunes

Head of Scientific Events and Communication at MabDesign and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Ana Antunes

Ana is microbiologist and currently works in the field of therapeutic antibody and immunotherapy at MabDesign. Prior to her current role, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut Pasteur and a visiting scientist at Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics. While completing her PhD in microbiology, Ana was awarded the Marie Cure Fellowship and the PhD Fellowship by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). Additionally, she has received various grants and nominations over the course of her academic career. Ana has lectured in vaccinology and pharmaceutical clinical development, been published in peer-reviewed journals and spoken at numerous international conferences. Ana is the Co-Founder and President the Association des Diplômés Portugais en France (AGRAFr), which brings together Portuguese expats and French nationals. She is also a member of Native Scientists, a non-profit organisation that connects children with science in their native languages, and Conto-Contigo, which provides Portuguese reading sessions for children.

Victor Capitanu
Victor Capitanu

Managing Director at One United Properties and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Victor Capitanu

Victor is an entrepreneur and investor. He is the Managing Director of One United Properties, the leading green property developer focusing on exclusive residential compounds in Bucharest. He has also been the founder of Capital Partners, which was the leading independent investment banking company in Romania until it was acquired by Banca Transilvania and turned into BT Capital Partners. He has also acted as Board Director at SIF Oltenia SA, an investment company listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange with a net asset value of €350 million. Victor has been the recipient of various awards including Acquisition International’s M&A Award in 2013, Ziarul Financiar’s Excellence Award in 2011 and Business Review’s 2009 Financial Adviser of the Year Award.

Stefania Duico
Stefania Duico

Head of Partner Marketing Italy & Greece, Netflix and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Stefania Duico

Currently leading Netflix’s patner marketing efforts in Southern Europe, Stefania rich carrier has considerable changed since starting out as a PR specialist in 2000. After joining Microsoft in 2002 as a Marketing Communications Specialist and later becoming a Senior Account Executive at Planners International Group, before returning to Microsoft to head the sales division of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment products in Italy. Throughout her time at Microsoft, Stefania won 7 different awards for diligence as well as for the many impressive marketing campaigns that she has run.

Lukasz Dziekonski
Lukasz Dziekonski

CEO and Managing Partner of Montis Capital Fund and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Lukasz Dziekonski

Lukasz is the CEO and Founding Partner of Montis Capital Fund. There, Lukasz oversees the formulation of financial and operational strategies. Previously, he was head of the Marguerite Fund office for the Central and Eastern Europe and member of the management board for the Marguerite Fund 2020 for Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure in Luxembourg. He is also on the supervisory board of Pomeranka Development, InvestGas and Energa Operator in Poland, and of PZU Ukraine Insurance Company and Kredobank, also in Ukraine. Lukasz began his career as an adviser in the European Parliament, focusing on energy policy and security as well as EU relations with Russia and Ukraine.

Jamy Goewie
Jamy Goewie

Partner at Shaping Impact Group and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Jamy Goewie

Jamy is a Partner at Shaping Impact Group, a fund management company, prior to which she served as the community and market development director at the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA). Jamy is the Founder and former director of Ashoka, the worldwide network of social entrepreneurs. She also founded the Child at Venture Foundation, which focuses on the development of young entrepreneurs in Asia and Africa, and served as the foundation’s executive director for over seven years. She remains on the board of Child at Venture today and also serves as a member of the board of Children of Bulgaria Foundation, which supports Bulgarian orphanages through food and education programmes. Additionally, she has previously served as a member of the European Leadership Platform advisory board.

Oisin Hanrahan
Oisin Hanrahan

Co-Founder and CEO of Handy and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Oisin Hanrahan

Oisin became an entrepreneur at the age of 18, when he set up the Clearwater Group, a real estate development company in Budapest while a student at Trinity College, Dublin. Oisin founded Handybook in May 2012 with Umang Dua to address the difficulty of finding a reliable handyman that Oisin experienced in Budapest. Oisin also established MiCandidate, which became the leading source for online election information across Europe in 2009, and set up the Undergraduate Awards, which has become the world’s largest pan-discipline awards programme. Supported by Google, Microsoft and others, it is a global annual awards event hosted in Dublin with the award distributed each year by the President of Ireland. In 2019 Oisin became Chief Product Officer for ANGI Homeservices which operates HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and other brands.

Frédéric Mazzella
Frédéric Mazzella

Founder and President of BlaBlaCar and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Frédéric Mazzella

Frédéric is the Founder and President of BlaBlaCar, the leading European ridesharing community that connects drivers with empty seats and people travelling in the same direction, with the aim of making road travel social, cost effective and sustainable. The carpooling platform became the first French unicorn and has grown into a global community, with over 20 million members in 22 countries. Frédéric also currently serves as the Co-President Entrepreneur of France Digitale, the largest start-up association in Europe, where is work largely focuses on talent, impact and European tech sovereignty. Prior to founding BlaBlaCar, Frédéric was a scientific research at the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) in Japan. Frédéric is a regular speaker at international conferences and in the media, including CNN, Bloomberg and CNBC, on the themes of sustainable development, entrepreneurship, global marketplaces and building trust in online communities. He is also an accomplished classical pianist.

Giovanna Pancheri
Giovanna Pancheri

Brussels Correspondent at Sky TG 24 and Michal Olszewski / Deputy Mayor of Warsaw and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Giovanna Pancheri

US & UN Correspondent Sky TV Italia Business giovanna.pancheri@skytv.it 2015-2016 Italy Since 2009 Giovanna has been the Brussels Bureau Chief Correspondent for Belgium, France and Germany at SKY TG24, where she was previously a reporter and special correspondent covering the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her work has covered interviews with the US President Obama, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, and French President François Hollande. She has obtained two Master’s degrees, the first in Political Science and International Relations at the Sapienza University of Rome, and the second in European Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges. She has authored numerous academic publications on Italian and international politics.

unknown
Shazia Saleem

Founder, ieat foods and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Shazia Saleem

Shazia founded Ieat Foods, the first British ready meals brand offering halal dishes that are prepared in accordance with Islamic law. Her business aims to give Muslims in the UK more choice about their food and is already seeing great success; Ieat products can now be found in over 300 of UK’s leading supermarket locations. Shazia previously worked as a Business Development Manager for entrepreneur and businessman Peter Jones.

Ivan Štefunko
Ivan Štefunko

Founder and Vice Chairman of Progresívne Slovensko and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Ivan Štefunko

Ivan has extensive experience in technology, media and the Internet as a serial entrepreneur and angel investor in the Slovakian venture capital industry. Ivan co-founded Progresívne Slovensko (Progressive Slovakia), a social-liberal and pro-European political movement, becoming the party’s first chairman and currently serving as Vice Chairman. Prior to this, Ivan co-founded Neulogy Ventures, a management company which invests public and private funds in early stage tech companies, and Neulogy, a Bratislava-based consultancy boutique specialising in R&D management, technology commercialisation and start-up consultation. He has also been at the helm of a number of start-up companies with global or regional reach, including Diagnose.me, Pelicantravel.com, Piano Media and GA Drilling.

Sonja Steßl
Sonja Steßl

former Austrian state secretary at the Federal Chancellery, Board Member of the Wiener Städtische Versicherung and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Sonja Steßl

Before her current appointment, Sonja worked at the Vienna Insurance Group AG amongst others as their regional director in Styria after having joined the private sector in 2016. Prior to this, she served as Austria’s State Secretary for Public Administration as well as State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance. Sonja has also been Deputy Chairwoman of the SPÖ Regional Party Committee in south-east Styria, Member of the Women’s Federal Executive Committee of the SPÖ and Chairwoman of Volkshilfe social services in Feldbach. In addition to this, she has been Chairwoman of the Nomination Committee of the Austrian State and Industrial Holding Ltd (ÖBIB). Sonja was first elected as a Member of Parliament in 2009, and concurrently taught business law at the KMU-Academy & Management in Linz.

Photo of Kamilla Sultanova
Kamilla Sultanova

Owner, ConnectUz and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Kamilla Sultanova

Kamilla is a bridge-builder and a solopreneur based in Helsinki. She has had a successful sales career in Scandinavian shipping companies including Maersk Line, where she was in charge of a global sales strategy execution in more than 20 markets spanning Eastern Europe, Nordics and Middle East. A gifted adviser and passionate advocate, Kamilla has done over 10 years’ worth of activist work in influencing debates, policies and practices in the field of gender equality, inclusion, empowerment and cross-cultural dialogue in the Nordics and the EU. 

20150629175041-xenios
Xenios Thrasyvoulou

Founder & CEO of PeoplePerHour.com and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Xenios Thrasyvoulou

PeoplePerHour.com is the UK’s largest freelance marketplace for digital work. As Founder and CEO, Xenios is in charge of the overall operation of the company as well as its latest innovation, SuperTasker.com, which outsources small tasks efficiently to a pool of curated experts. With offices in Europe and the United States, the company is truly making a dent in one of the world’s fastest growing markets. Xenios has been interviewed by and featured in a number of magazines and newspapers including The Financial Times, Business Insider and Bloomberg. An avid blogger, he is a regular contributor to such media outlets as the Huffington Post, Forbes and Wired Magazine. He is also a professional painter and obtained undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Cambridge.

Photo of Andi Wecker
Andi Wecker

Film- and TV producer, writer, director at Network Movie Film und Fernsehproduktion GmbH and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Andi Wecker

After working in various jobs including as a camera assistant, electrician and assistant director in film and television, Andi joined the film production company Network Movie in 2002 as a producer. Projects then included the first series of the international co-production “The Team” for which Andi was Creative Producer, several series of the crime drama, “Soko Köln” (PD Cologne), several TV-movies including an adaptation of Frank Schätzing’s bestseller, “Die Dunkle Seite” (The Dark Side). While fulfilling these responsibilities, he studied directing at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne and wrote and directed several short films and commercials.

Eberhart Wusterhaus Gomez
Eberhart Wusterhaus Gomez

Commercial Director at Carbon Clean and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Eberhart Wusterhaus Gomez

Eberhart is an engineer specialising in energy generation for heating, power and vehicle fuel from both conventional and sustainable sources. He also has expert knowledge of the feasibility of the development and practical application of energy generation based on local conditions. Born in Mexico and educated in Germany, Eberhart has a vital understanding of industrialised and developing countries alike. He has been responsible for national renewable gas projects in Germany, and for the mechanical design and commissioning of gas processing plants in developing countries. He has a strong understanding of the global energy market, current obstacles and future perspectives, with experience of various multi-million euro investment contract negotiations around the world.

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