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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 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

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

Photo of Jane Burston
Jane Burston

Managing Director of the Clean Air Fund, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

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Jane has dedicated most her life to climate and environmental issues, serving first as a strategic consultant on low carbon policy to the Mayor of London and is now running a world-class climate science and low carbon technology centre at the UK’s National Measurement Institute. In 2008, she founded Carbon Retirement, an award-winning social enterprise working with the EU ETS. Her dedication to sustainability and entrepreneurial drive was rewarded with being named as one of the ‘Top 30 UK entrepreneurs under 30’ by Real Business in 2010, a ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Square Mile in 2011 and one of the ‘Top 10 Outstanding Young Persons of the UK’ by the Chamber of Commerce International in 2015, among others.

Edvard Glücksman
Edvard Glücksman

Impact Partnership Development Manager on Tevi Innovation, Impact and Business at University of Exeter, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

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“Edvard is an environmental sustainability professional working for the University of Exeter, currently serving as the business-facing manager on Tevi, an ERDF-funded programme supporting SMEs in Cornwall to grow whilst contributing to the circular economy and environmental growth. Edvard recently spent three years as a senior environmental consultant with Wardell Armstrong, specialising in the environmental and social impacts of development projects in emerging economies in line with the standards of international financial institutions. He has previously held a number of roles at the interface of science
and society, having worked at the European Geosciences Union and the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. Edvard holds MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Oxford and undergraduate degrees from the University of St Andrews and McGill University.”

Kalliopi Kalaitzi
Kalliopi Kalaitzi

Physician Charité University Medicine, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

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Popi” currently lives in Germany where she works as a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation. She aspires to become an expert in the field of anti-aging and age management medicine. Since the start of her university studies, Popi has worked and volunteered in a variety of NGOs to do with youth health and drug abuse. She later organised a special youth department in her local council when she served as the then youngest prefecture councillor ever to have been elected in Greece. She also held a variety of executive positions at the drug prevention centre, Serios, the Greek National Youth Council and the Cultural Union of Thessaloniki. Popi later spent four years as the Regional Commissioner of Lagkadas and is to this day the youngest person to have ever held the position.

Riccardo Lattanzi
Riccardo Lattanzi

Assistant Professor (Radiology) at New York University, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

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Riccardo is a biomedical scientist who develops technology to improve the diagnostic power of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Riccardo achieved his PhD in Medical and Electrical Engineering from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2008. An Assistant Professor of Radiology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, he is also a course director and research supervisor at New York University, and has written numerous conference papers, book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles. Riccardo holds the patents for the apparatus, method and computer-accessible medium for a high resolution magnetic resonance imager, and dipole array arrangement. For his scientific research, he has won the prestigious I.I. Rabi Young Investigator Award of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and an NSF CAREER Award.

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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Selection process

Due to Covid-19, no European Young Leaders class will be selected for 2021. Application for the class of 2022 will open in the spring of 2021.

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 to EU integration (Serbia, Kosovo*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, North 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.

*references to Kosovo in this document are used without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UN Security Council resolution 1244/99 and the International Court of Justice Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

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