About

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, a citizens can collaborate and be the drivers of 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. Their passion, their diversity of backgrounds and opinions, and their innovative thinking together create the right formula for generating fresh ideas to build a more forward-thinking Europe.
Our European leaders provide alternative perspectives from outside the institutional and political frameworks to EU decisionmakers writing the rule book.
The European Young Leaders also play the essential role of helping to reconnect people with and rebuild trust in politics by engaging a wider community around key EU policy issues that need a whole economy whole society approach to progress fast.
They are scientists, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, astronomers. They are citizens and their thinking is not bound by multilateral or frameworks, or burocracy.

They help take Europe out of Brussels, in their own countries and cities. They are facilitating citizens’ participation in the creation of a more equal, innovative and inclusive Europe and help 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: the green and digital transformation, strengthening of our democracy, relations with our neighbours, increasing power sharing, and building a more gender and diverse Europe.

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


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 Jamila Aanzi
Jamila Aanzi

Trainer and Advisor; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Campaigner and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Jamila is a leading innovator in the fields of youth involvement and social outreach in the Netherlands. She currently works as an independent strategic consultant and sits on the supervisory board of Stichting JES Rijnland, an organisation which promotes the rights of children and young people in education and society. Jamila previously worked as a senior international political trainer for the the Max van der Stoel Foundation, where she worked with political parties and politicians in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and North Africa on a range of topics, including diversity, the inclusion of young people and women, EU enlargement and democracy. She is the former Dutch women’s representative to the United Nations and a former member of the European Elections Programme Committee of the Social Democratic Party of the Netherlands (PVDA). Jamila is also an alumna of Israel’s future European leaders programme and the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Martijn Arets
Martijn Arets

International expert and thinker in the field of emergence and development of the collaborative economy and 2013 European Young Leader

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Martijn is an international expert and thinker in the field of emergence and development of the collaborative economy: sharing economy, gig economy, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. He spoke with over 500 representatives from platforms, government, trade unions and corporate organizations in 16 countries to explore the conditions under which platforms can contribute to a more inclusive society. As a bridge builder and independent professional outsider, he uses these insights and this network to get stakeholders together to address relevant issues in a constructive way. Martijn shares his knowledge in his blogs, books, as an advisor and keynote speaker. His background is in marketing and branding, and he has written the books ‘Brand Expedition, a journey visiting Europe’s most inspiring brands’,’Crowdfunding, beyond the hype’ and ‘Crowdfunding for Dummies’

Jamy Goewie
Jamy Goewie

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

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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.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Jeanine is a Member of the Dutch House of Representatives since 2010 and a Member of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy. She previously worked at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enlargement, KPMG, the City of Amsterdam and also served as a Member of the European Parliament. In February 2010, as rapporteur on the issue, Jeanine led the European Parliament vote that rejected an EU-US agreement which would have granted US authorities access to European citizens’ banking data without taking account the European legislation on data protection.

Jesse Klaver
Jesse Klaver

Member of the Dutch House of Representatives, Leader of the Dutch green party GroenLinks and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Jesse currently serves as the green-left party leader in the Dutch Parliament, with a mandate focused on environmental and educational issues. In his time as party leader, Jesse was instrumental in capturing 10 additional parliamentary seats, rising to an all-time high of 14, and making GroenLinks the fifth most important group in the House. Previously, Jesse was the spokesperson for Finance, Environment and Education and sat on a wide range of parliamentary committees. He has publically opposed tax evasion and has co-authored a memo on protecting the Dutch flora and fauna.

Fatima Moreira de Melo
Fatima Moreira de Melo

Founder, Fatima Performance BV and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Fatima is a professional field hockey player. She has played for the Dutch national team in international tournaments and for several teams such as Tempo ’34, HGC and HC Rotterdam in Dutch national competitions. She was a member of the Dutch national team that won the 2006 Women’s Hockey World Cup and the 2007 Hockey Champions Trophy. After a bronze medal in Sydney in 2000 and a silver medal in Athens in 2004, Fatima won a gold medal at the 2008 Games in Beijing. In 2006, she was named Rotterdam Sportswoman of the Year. In addition to field hockey, she presented TV programmes on local and national networks.

Daan Roosegaarde
Daan Roosegaarde

Innovator and Founder, Studio Roosegaarde and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Daan is a Dutch artist and innovator; he’s a creative thinker who explores the relations between people, technology and space through social designs. Having been inspired by natural phenomena like light-emitting fireflies and jellyfish from an early age, Daan’s long-standing fascination with nature and technology is reflected in designs that include his Smart Highway project (roads which charge from sunlight and glow at night) and Waterlicht (a virtual flood). His Smog Free Project has seen the creation of the largest outdoor air purifier in the world, transforming smog into jewellery, and the Smog Free Bike which cleans the surrounding air with every pedal. In 2007, he founded Studio Roosegaarde, a internationally renowned social design lab where he works with his team of designers and engineers to craft a better future. Together, they develop ‘Landscapes of the Future’ by building smart sustainable prototypes for the cities of tomorrow.

Photo of Hanke Bruins Slot
Hanke Bruins Slot

Vice-Governor of the Province of Utrecht and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Hanke is a former military officer, currently serving as the Deputy for Nature, Agriculture, Soil and Water, Sports and Governance at the Province of Utrecht. As a member of the Dutch parliament, Hanke served as the Christian Democratic Appeal party’s spokesperson on health and defence issues, while also focusing on local government, medical law, psychiatry and sports. Prior to her career in politics, Hanke attended the Dutch Royal Military Academy (KMA), where she undertook officer training and specialised as an artillery commander. She went on to serve in Afghanistan as a tank platoon commander, where she was promoted to acting field officer, assisting the Director of Operations of the Land Forces Command Staff. She has also worked in the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations as a senior policy officer and is avid hockey player, who won the Rabobank Premier Division national indoor hockey championship in 2005.

Farid Tabarki
Farid Tabarki

Founder and Director of Studio Zeitgeist and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Farid is a researcher, writer, presenter and entrepreneur. At Studio Zeitgeist, Farid coordinates research and develops projects at the local, national and European levels on topics such as radical decentralisation, racial transparency and the liquid society. Fabrid is also a weekly columnist for Het Financieele Dagblad, a Dutch daily newspaper focusing on finance and economy, and the author of “The End of the Middle – What society of extremes means to people, businesses and government”. He is the former editor in chief and presenter at Coolpolitics, an organisation which encourages younger generations to share their roles as citizens. He has presented the parliamentary election edition of MTV Coolpolitics and the television program Dare to Think, from Socrates to Sartre. Farid is a member of the supervisory board of Stadgenoot, Prince Bernhard Culture Fund and International Theatre Amsterdam. He is also a member of the Netherlands Architect Institute and the Foundation for Democracy and Media.

Kirsten van den Hul
Kirsten van den Hul

Former member of the Dutch Parliament; Writer, Change Agent and Columnist and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Kirsten has been elected in the Dutch national Parliament in 2017. Prior to starting her political career, she was working as a ‘change agent’. As such she has been involved in a number of different change projects for companies and organisations such as Nike and Amnesty International. She is also a columnist for several Dutch newspapers on issues ranging from women’s rights to international relations. Trained as an Eastern Europe specialist, she has worked for several international NGOs, including international women’s fund Mama Cash and the European Cultural Foundation. After working as a Communication Officer for LPG multinational SHV Gas, Kirsten also worked as a Programme Coordinator for Cultuurfabriek, a communications and production agency. While there she set up WOMEN Inc., a platform for debate and interaction, and was also involved with several other social and cultural projects.

Wietse van der Werf
Wietse van der Werf

Founder & CEO of Sea Ranger Service and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Wietse is an award-winning Dutch social entrepreneur and conservationist, pioneering regenerative blue economy ventures. Wietse has received wide recognition for his innovative approach to mobilising businesses, governments and citizens to form uncommon partnerships for the social, economic and ecological regeneration of European coastal and ocean areas. His current venture, the Sea Ranger Service, trains unemployed young people from port cities with the help of navy veterans to manage Marine Protected Areas in European seas. A new type of professional sailing vessel has been developed for the Sea Rangers, with cost-effective sea operation and zero emissions.

Ruben van Zwieten
Ruben van Zwieten

Founder and Reverend, De Nieuwe Poort and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Ruben van Zwieten

Ruben is a Dutch pastor and social entrepreneur, well-known for building bridges between the financial sector and spirituality. As a pastor he fills in for ministers, marries couples and baptises babies, as co-founder of the project Zingeving on the Zuidas (finding meaning in the Amsterdam Financial Sector), he aims to discuss a more human and moral perspective on the financial sector with its employees. Recently he opened The New Gate, a modern community house in Amsterdam and Rotterdam dedicated to philosophy, meeting people, and building a kinder society. Ruben is adviser at Goldschmeding Foundation and board member at VUMC Foundation and also member of the Dutch Monitoring Commission for banks. Dutch Newspaper De Volkskrant called him one of the nation’s most influential people.

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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

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