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.


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

Pavla Gomba
Pavla Gomba

Executive Director of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 2014 European Young Leader

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Pavla is the Executive director of UNICEF in the Czech Republic. Under her leadership, the Czech UNICEF has become not only a strong advocate for children’s rights, but also a leading fundraising organisation, with a contribution rate of 82 (the 3rd highest in the worldwide network), emerging from a recipient of international funding to the net donor to the international causes – an experience that is now viewed as an inspiration for the new business model of UNICEF in middle-income countries. Pavla has extensive experience of missions in developing countries, ranging from the areas hit by natural disasters and post-conflict countries to the countries struggling with high poverty rates and social inequalities. Pavla is also a member of the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting to which she was elected by the Czech Parliament. She is currently carrying out a PhD at the Technical University of Ostrava, focusing on international security and terrorism and she holds an MSc in Finance from the University of Economics, Prague.

Pavla Holcová
Pavla Holcová

Founder of the Czech Center for Investigative Journalism, 2018 European Young Leader

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Pavla is the Founder and Director of the Czech Center for Investigative Journalism, where she has been involved in examining cases of Serbian and Macedonian organised criminals and revealing fraud in the fall of the Czech Investment and Post Bank (IPB), the biggest bankruptcy in the history of the Czech Republic. Before founding the centre, Pavla was head of Cuban Section in a humanitarian and human rights NGO. Her journalistic work has been merited with the Global Shining Light Award from the Global Investigative Journalism Network, as well as the European Union Award for Investigative Journalism.

Tomáš Ignác Fénix
Tomáš Ignác Fénix

Farmer & Vice President of the European Council of Young Farmers, 2019 European Young Leader

Show more information on Tomáš Ignác Fénix

Tomáš Ignác is the Vice President of the European Council of Young Farmers – the voice of Europe’s next generation of farmers towards the European institutions. He also runs a 50-ha organic fruit and wine family farm in southern Moravia and cooperates with agricultural and environmental institutions as part of his farm business. The motivation to farm in this less favoured region is a holistic approach to (re-)build the countryside. Previously, Tomáš actively engaged in the NGO Antikomplex, working on the German Czech reconciliation. In addition, he led the LGBT Christian community called Logos for four years. His ambition is to advocate for a sustainable agricultural policy and a strong bond of the European nations and between rural areas and cities.

Karel Janecek
Karel Janecek

Chairman of the Supervisory Board, RSJ Algorithmic Trading, 2013 European Young Leader

Show more information on Karel Janecek

Karel is a Czech anti-corruption activist, mathematician and social-reformer, who is using his skills to rethink how democracy functions. Following a series of corruption scandals in 2013 that threatened to bring down the Czech government, Karel engaged in a number of initiatives aimed at improving governmental accountability through citizen action and electoral reform. One of these is Democracy 2.1 (D21), primarily based on the possibility to vote against a candidate. This concept is currently used by the cities of Prague and New York, and was also tested by the UK National Health Service (NHS).

Jan Veselý
Jan Veselý

Innovation Laboratory, Charles University, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

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Jan specialises in helping start-up entrepreneurs take their first steps. He is the Director of Lean Startup CZ, a Prague-based business that aims to assist new companies in achieving financial stability, efficiency and longevity. The initiative features an accelerator programme for non-profit and social businesses and a 10-city roadshow promoting entrepreneurship, networking and workshops. In addition, Jan owns Struct s.r.o., a business development consultancy that helps businesses to monitor, upgrade and exchange the services they use as they grow. Jan is also passionate about innovation in education which led him to found EduFórum, a network designed to promote action in this area. He has been Director of Edufórum since its creation in 2012.

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Events

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Insights

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Selection process

The EYL40 programme is a unique, multi-stakeholder programme which aims to promote a sense of European identity by bringing together forty of the brightest European leaders every year and engaging them in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future. 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. Additionally, in 2020, the programme will include 6 Young Leaders from the Western Balkan region. In doing so, we aim to promote structural dialogue across the continent that will foster better mutual understanding.

Since the launch of the programme in 2012, 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. Candidates can either apply or be nominated for the selection process of the programme.

Selection criteria:

  •  Candidates must be between 30 and 40 years of age;
  • Candidates must be a national of an EU member state or of one of the 6 Balkan states currently on the path towards EU integration (Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro);
  • Candidates should have established themselves 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.

The deadline for nominations and applications for the 2020 European Young Leaders class has passed. We are currently reviewing the candidates and aim to announce the 2020 class before the end of 2019. We will open the application and nomination period for the class of 2021 in the spring of 2020.

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