About

Ten years ago, motivated by the urgent need to tackle the increasing disconnect between citizens and policymakers, and to rebuild the trust that is vital to democracies, Friends of Europe crafted a leadership programme unlike any other: the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme. To celebrate the programme’s anniversary, we travelled through the past ten years to share ten inspiring stories.

Our anniversary celebration features volleyball player Valentina Diouf; Rokhaya Diallo, a journalist, filmmaker and human rights activist; Christel Heydemann, CEO of Orange; renowned chef Eneko Atxa; serial entrepreneur Ivan Stefunko; bionic pop artist and futurist, Viktoria Modesta; Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas; Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke, CEO and Founder of Women’s WorldWide Web (W4); Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, Bastian Obermayer; and Qëndron Kastrati, former mayor of Kamenica, Kosovo. Click here to learn more about our selection amongst 350+ wonderful profiles.


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, and citizens can collaborate and drive 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. Together, their passion, diversity of backgrounds and opinions, and innovative thinking create the right formula for generating fresh ideas to build a more forward-thinking Europe.

Our European leaders are scientists, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs and astronomers. They are citizens and their thinking is not bound by local and multilateral institutions, traditional political frameworks or bureaucracy. They provide alternative perspectives to EU decision-makers and challenge the status quo.

They help take Europe out of Brussels. In their own countries, cities and communities, the European Young Leaders also play an essential role in reconnecting people with and rebuilding trust in politics by engaging a wider community around key EU policy issues that need a whole-of-economy, whole-of-society approach to progress more quickly. They are facilitating citizens’ participation in the creation of a more equal, innovative and inclusive Europe and helping 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: supporting the green and digital transformation, strengthening our democracy, improving relations with our neighbours, increasing power sharing and building a more diverse Europe.

Succeeding in these policies and getting more citizens engaged in European elections will be our litmus test.


Tune in to the EYL40s on Friends of Europe’s podcasts

The Frankly Speaking Podcast - Iran: Unchallenged, till now

Leading view

The Frankly Speaking Podcast - Iran: Unchallenged, till now

Start playback
Episode 12. Frankly Speaking Podcast Series: Special Focus Russian invasion of Ukraine

Leading view

Episode 12. Frankly Speaking Podcast Series: Special Focus Russian invasion of Ukraine

Start playback
Everything you didn't know about air pollution. It's scary stuff!

Leading view

Everything you didn't know about air pollution. It's scary stuff!

Jane Burston

Start playback
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
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

Jasmina Cibic
Jasmina Cibic

Filmmaker, sculptor and artist who explores how political rhetoric is deployed through art and architecture and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Jasmina Cibic

Jasmina works across a range of media including photography, performance, installation and video. Most often characterised as a visual artist, her artwork is focused on the positioning and analysing of space vis-à-vis other societal categories. She is the author of numerous exhibitions which have been shown all over Europe, as well as the recipient of prestigious Slovenian, European and international awards, including the Bevilacqua la Masa (Venice 2002 and 2005), the Slovenian Trend Award for Outstanding Achievements in Visual Art (2011), and the Catlin Commission Award (London, 2011). She represented Slovenia at the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

Jasna Gabric
Jasna Gabric

Mayor of Trbovlje, Slovenia and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Jasna Gabric

Jasna Gabric is the mayor of Trbovlje, a former mining town in Slovenia. A member of the municipal council since the age of 25, she was the youngest Slovenian mayor when elected. Unemployment in her town has fallen by almost half thanks to her role in implementing a successful incubator for start-ups. Her effort also focussed on reforming the municipality to make it more efficient and responsive. These achievements have received widespread recognition, in particular from the City Mayors Foundation which named her Mayor of Distinction. She is seen as a role model for young female politicians.

Tea Jarc
Tea Jarc

President of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) Youth Committee and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Tea Jarc

Tea is a grassroots youth activist from Slovenia, who campaigns for social justice and actively engages in various social movements. As President of the ETUC Youth Committee, she leads the organisation in its mission to amplify the voice of the European youth workforce. Tea is also the President of Sindikat Mladi plus, a Slovenian youth trade union that represents working and unemployed Slovenian young people and students, including high school students, and seeks to protect their social and labour rights. A freelance educator, trainer and facilitator, Tea also hosts a podcast, which covers labour issues and explores labour policy alternatives that prioritise the well-being of citizens and the environment.

Neža Kogovšek Šalamon
Neža Kogovšek Šalamon

Head of Individual Complaints Department at the Advocate of the Principle of Equality and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Neža Kogovšek Šalamon

Neža Kogovšek Šalamon is a human rights advocate with experience at the national and international levels. She is the former director of the Peace Institute, a non-profit research body that aims to create and preserve an open society based on the principles of equality, human rights, responsibility, solidarity and the rule of law. Her work at the institute included legal research, advocacy and teaching, and her fields of research interests spanned from international law and fundamental rights, to asylum and migration law. Neža currently serves as a member of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), as well as the European Network of Legal Experts in the Non-Discrimination Field, the European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law (ESCOL) and the Odysseus Academic Network, among others. She is also a member of several legal expert networks, which advocate for anti-discrimination, social inclusion and better representation of immigrants.

Boštjan Videmšek
Boštjan Videmšek

War Reporter, Delo and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Boštjan Videmšek

Boštjan is a journalist, author and playwright. He is currently a foreign correspondent with Slovenia’s largest daily newspaper, DELO. He has also written for major international media outlets including The New York Times, BBC World, POLITICO and the Atlantic Post. An experienced war reporter, Boštjan has covered major events ranging from conflicts in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo to natural disasters in Southeast Asia. He has so far published three books including 21st Century Conflicts: Remnants of War(s) in 2012, which was a national best-seller in his native Slovenia and was also published in the US.

Goran Vojnović
Goran Vojnović

Writer, Poet, Screenwriter, and Film Director and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Goran Vojnović

Goran holds a degree from the Ljubljana Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television, where he specialised in film and television directing. He has directed several short films and co-wrote a screenplay with Marko Šantić for the film Good Luck Nedim, which was nominated for a European Film Academy Award in 2006. In 2010, he directed his first feature film Piran/Pirano. Čefurji raus! (“Southern Scum Go Home!”, 2008) is his bestselling debut novel for which he received the Prešeren Fund Award and the Kresnik Award for best novel of the year. His second novel Jugoslavija, moja dežela (“Yugoslavia, My Country”) was published in 2012 and achieved immediate success among Slovenian readers. Goran is also a weekly columnist for one of country’s biggest newspapers, Dnevnik, and is currently working on his new film based on his debut novel.

Martia Vuk
Martina Vuk

Former State Secretary for the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Martina Vuk

Martina is the former Secretary of State for the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. Having long been interested in politics, she began her political career by participating in the Young Democrats Forum towards the end of secondary school. This formative experience led her to pursue and obtain elected office at both the local and national level. At the Slovenia National Assembly, Martina has actively participated in the parliamentary group responsible for the fields of work, family, social affairs, health and human rights. For the past four and a half years, under two Governments, she worked as a state secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. As a Council of Europe-certified human rights trainer, she has worked with various non-governmental organisations to promote human rights and gender equality.

Continue to Events

Events

Continue to Selection process

Selection process

APPLICATIONS FOR THE EYL CLASS OF 2023 ARE NOW CLOSED.
NOMINATIONS FOR UKRAINIAN NATIONALS* ARE OPEN UNTIL 24 JUNE 2022

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 a new generation of European leaders from all over the continent and various 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 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 1983).
  • 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 of the two EYL seminars during the programme year.

Please click HERE for the detailed Selection Guidelines 2023.

Should you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at eyl40@friendsofeurope.org.

*The current crisis has prompted us to open up the programme to Ukraine as a pilot initiative. In future years we hope to find a way of including more people who are not EU nationals/citizens but are contributing positively to current Europe (e.g., candidates from our neighbourhood countries and refugees).
**References to Kosovo here 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.

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