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.
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
Leading viewThe Frankly Speaking Podcast - Iran: Unchallenged, till now
Leading viewEpisode 12. Frankly Speaking Podcast Series: Special Focus Russian invasion of Ukraine
Leading viewEverything you didn't know about air pollution. It's scary stuff!
Leading viewJoss Garman on the climate crisis: how bad is it (bad!) and can we get out of it (yes!)?
Leading viewUna Mullally on abortion rights, marriage equality and galvanising a generation for change
Meet the EYL40
Jane has dedicated most of her life to climate and environmental issues. Before bringing together donors to set up the Clean Air Fund, Jane was head of climate and energy science in the UK government, where she was responsible for the UK greenhouse gas inventory and a £45m science programme. She also founded Carbon Retirement, an award-winning social enterprise working with the EU ETS. Additionally, she has led a team of 150 scientists working on energy and environment at the National Physical Laboratory. Her dedication to sustainability and entrepreneurial drive has been rewarded with being named as one of the ‘Top 30 UK entrepreneurs under 30’ by Real Business, ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Square Mile and one of the ‘Top 10 Outstanding Young Persons of the UK’ by the Chamber of Commerce International, among others.
With two master’s degrees in Communication and European Integration (Economics), Martin first entered the world of journalism in 2002 initially as a European correspondent and later a political journalist. He has been a reporter for La Libre Belgique and De Morgen, as well as an editor for the television programme “Politiquement Correct” on RTL-TVI during the most recent legislative and regional elections in Belgium. He is currently a Senior Writer at the daily business newspaper L’Echo where he serves as both a political journalist and an editor. Martin appears daily on the Bel-RTL television channel where he conducts a political interview every morning. He is an accomplished author having most recently published a biography of the current Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders.
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.
Karima Delli from the French party, Europe Écologie–Les Verts, is one of the youngest Members of the European Parliament. She is the ninth of thirteen children, and has written about her modest upbringing and its effect on her ecological commitments in her book, ‘La politique ne me fait pas perdre le nord’ (Politics have not made me lose sight of the North). First elected in 2009, Delli has remained a committed activist during her tenure though work at Jeudi Noire (Black Thursday), a group dedicated to helping young people find housing, and Sauvons les Riches (Save the Rich), which demands the introduction of a maximum European income. She is a member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, and a substitute
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 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.
Since summer 2020, Damien has been Ireland’s Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail. He previously served as Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation. He was first elected in 2002, at the age of just 24, when he was appointed Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson for Arts, Sport and Tourism. He then became Deputy Spokesperson for Justice and Community Affairs and a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly. He has also served as Deputy Spokesperson for Enterprise and Finance.
Clémentine is a journalist who has gone from freelance reporting on the radio and in magazines to later becoming Editor-in-Chief at EurActiv, France. She is now Editor-in-Chief Editor of Contexte, an online newspaper that focuses on French and European public policy which she co-founded in 2013. She is also Vice-President of Europresse, the association of French journalists who cover European affairs, and AJDE, an association for journalists who specifically report on energy issues. Educated in Paris and Brussels, Clémentine is a published author and was previously in charge of opening the Brussels office of the Robert Schuman Foundation.
Edvard is an environmental sustainability professional working at the University of Exeter, currently serving as the business-facing manager on Tevi, a programme funded by European Regional Development Fund which supports the growth of SMEs in Cornwall with a focus on 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 also 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.
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.
María is a Spanish politician who formerly served as a Member of the Congress of Deputies for the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE). María’s background is in biochemistry, having earned a degree in the subject with research experience in molecular genetics. She entered politics at an early age, becoming Secretary-General of the Young Socialists for the Region of Murcia in 2003, and was appointed Secretary for Housing and Quality of Life in the Federal Executive Committee of the party in 2007 when she was elected as Member of the Regional Assembly of Murcia. In the 2011 general election, María was elected to the Congress of Deputies, working as Secretary of Innovation and New Technologies in the PSOE Federal Executive.
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.
As Director of the EU Secretariat in the Estonian government, Klen coordinates and develops all EU policy and acts as the chief European affairs adviser to the Prime Minister. A career civil servant, Klen started out in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, rising quickly to the position of Head of the Refugees Department. In this capacity, he dealt with a variety of NGOs and international organisations including the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He later moved to Brussels where he spent six years working at the Estonian Permanent Representation to the EU during which time he dealt with many issues related to the preparation, ratification and implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon.
Kalliopi Kalaitzi is a medical doctor in a public hospital in Athens, specialising in physical medicine and rehabilitation with a focus on healthy aging and lifestyle medicine. Having previously worked in the field of aesthetic medicine and plastic surgery for over eight years, Kalliopi has also held a number of executive positions at the drug prevention centre, Serios, and experience working for a variety of NGOs which focus on youth health and drug abuse. She is also the youngest elected official to have served as a prefectural counsellor and as regional commissioner in Greeze. Kalliopi is the Co-Founder of the BrainGain Initiative, which aims to reverse brain drain in Greece. She currently serves as member of the board member of the Greek Cardiology Foundation and the president of an NGO, which focuses on prenatal, maternal and women’s health.
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.
- 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 email@example.com.
*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.
- Area of Expertise
- Area of Expertise
- Climate, Energy & Sustainability
- Area of Expertise
- Climate, Energy & Sustainability
- Area of Expertise
- Climate, Energy & Sustainability