Meet the new EYL40 Class of 2024!

This year’s EYL40 Class of 2024 includes an Olympic swimmer, a glaciologist, politicians from all levels of government and members of national parliaments, a winemaker, green tech entrepreneurs and social activists, prize-winning journalists, Unicorn and start-up founders and CEOs, a pioneering playwright of Roma feminist theatre and many more!



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

Policy Voices | Are we alone in the universe?

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Policy Voices | Are we alone in the universe?

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Policy Voices | Like Goebbels: Polish propaganda and the demise of democracy

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Policy Voices | Like Goebbels: Polish propaganda and the demise of democracy

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Policy Voices | The Netherlands chose the far-right. What happens next?

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Policy Voices | The Netherlands chose the far-right. What happens next?

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Policy Voices Podcast | Keeping the human in the loop: How to make a success story of AI in health

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Policy Voices Podcast | Keeping the human in the loop: How to make a success story of AI in health

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Continue to Meet the EYL

Meet the EYL40

Photo of Ifrah Ahmed
Ifrah Ahmed

Founder of the Ifrah Foundation and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Ifrah Ahmed is a Somali-Irish social activist and advocate for the eradication of female genital mutilation (FGM). She is the Founder of the Ifrah Foundation, devoted to the elimination of FGM in her native Somalia and the Horn of Africa. As a child, Ahmed underwent forced mutilation and later fled to Ireland during the war in Somalia in her teenage years, where she was granted political asylum. She became the first woman to broadcast her testimony about undergoing FGM and has served as an advisor to the Somali president and government on gender. Ahmed is also a multi-award winning international advocate for the global elimination of FGM. Along with community empowerment, media and film are central tools to her advocacy work. She has made a short documentary on the death of a 10-year-old girl due to FGM-induced complications. The award-winning, feature-length film “A Girl from Mogadishu” documents her experiences of gender-based violence and turns it into a force for change.

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Adis Ahmetović

Member of the Bundestag and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Adis Ahmetović is a German politician with roots in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who represents Hanover in the German Bundestag. An advocate of transparency, accountability and citizen engagement, Ahmetović’s political work primarily focuses on foreign policy issues, as well as climate and energy policy. In the German Bundestag, he is a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and a Deputy Member of the Defence Committee. A strong supporter of the accession of the Western Balkan states to the European Union, Ahmetović is the rapporteur for the Social Democratic Party (SPD) parliamentary group for the Western Balkans, as well as for civil crisis prevention, conflict management and networked action, and co-rapporteur for South Asia. Furthermore, he has been appointed by his parliamentary group as spokesperson for the subcommittee on international climate and energy policy. Involved in local organisations, he is the Co-Chair of the Hanover SPD City Association and Vice-President of the German Red Cross in Hanover. Before entering the Bundestag, Ahmetović served in the State Chancellery of Lower Saxony as an advisor on government planning and policy issues.

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Rim-Sarah Alouane

Legal scholar and commentator, and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Rim-Sarah Alouane is a French legal scholar and commentator. Her research focuses on religious freedom, civil liberties, constitutional law and human rights across Europe and North America, with a special focus on France. Alouane has explored these issues as a guest lecturer at Georgetown University, Harvard Law School, Sorbonne and Sciences Po, among others. Her works have been published by the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution, The New York Times and Foreign Policy magazine. Alouane also regularly appears on TV and radio outlets worldwide, including NPR, Al Jazeera, BBC and France24, to discuss issues such as discrimination, human rights and politics. Notably, she has been vocal about the rise of far-right politics and anti-Muslim hatred, specifically providing her expert commentary on bodily autonomy given policy developments regarding bans on hijabs and burkinis in France.

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Camilla Appelgren

Chief Patrolling Ranger at the Heritage Parks Federation and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Camilla Appelgren is an environmental activist, who hails from Sweden but has called Malta home for over two decades. She founded Malta Clean Up to inspire citizen climate action by organising monthly clean-ups in different locations across the island, as well as to mobilise public support for clean-up and waste reduction efforts in the face of environmental degradation. Appelgren also built up the patrolling ranger unit at the Majjistral National Park. Her role is to ensure adherence to the park’s site regulations and documentation of environmental crimes, such as poaching and dumping of waste. A strong advocate against single-use plastics, she strives towards a zero-waste lifestyle and encourages others to adopt sustainable practices in their everyday lives. Appelgren ran as a Democratic Party (PD) candidate in the 2019 European elections. Although she was not elected to the European Parliament, the support she received from voters defied expectations, in no small part due to her passion for the environment and commitment to her community.

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Andrea Barber Lazcano

Co-Founder and CEO of RatedPower and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Andrea Barber Lazcano is a Spanish entrepreneur and champion of sustainable energy. As the Co-Founder and CEO of RatedPower, she leads the sustainable and energy-efficient design and construction of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. The award-winning, cloud-based software company’s pvDesign is a game-changing technology that has transformed and revolutionised traditional engineering through optimisation and automatisation in order to improve the performance and profitability of solar PV plants. Barber Lazcano is on a mission to accelerate the energy transition by contributing to the widespread use of solar energy, reducing CO2 emissions and increasing the competitiveness of sustainable energy worldwide, with plans to expand beyond the solar sector and into the wind and storage sectors. A champion of female entrepreneurship, Barber Lazcano also hosts the Vostok 6 podcast, which gives visibility to the stories of trailblazing women, in order to inspire and empower listeners.

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Anders Bæksgaard Christensen

Editor and Head of Politics, National Security and Public Administration at Politiken and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Anders Bæksgaard is a political journalist from Denmark, who currently co-leads one of the country’s largest newsrooms at the prestigiously regarded newspaper, Politiken. He also heads the daily newspaper’s department on politics, national security and public administration. Bæksgaard has extensively covered the last three general elections in Denmark, while also providing political analysis for DR and TV2, two of the country’s major TV stations. The youngest political editor in Denmark at the time of his appointment, he previously headed the Politiken political editorial office after starting his career at Politiken as a political reporter. Bæksgaard has also covered Danish politics at the Berlingske Tidende daily newspaper’s editorial office and worked as a news coordinator at the Berlingske News Agency, beginning his journalism career as a researcher at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

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Hervé Berville

French State Secretary for the Sea and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Hervé Berville is a French economist and politician, who serves as the country’s State Secretary for the Sea, in which role he is responsible for the development and implementation of the government’s policy related to the sea, particularly the maritime economy. He has been elected twice to the French parliament, Assemblée nationale. Having authored a report on the modernisation of French foreign aid policy to support equal partnerships with Africa, Asia and Latin America, Berville was also the rapporteur of a programming bill on solidarity-based development and the fight against global inequalities. Both activities successfully led to the allocation of development funding. Berville began his political career as the spokesperson for La République en Marche parliamentary group, prior to which he worked as an economist for the French Development Agency in Mozambique and as a programme manager for the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies in Kenya.

Giulia Bonfá Bio European Young Leader 2023
Giulia Bonfà

Lieutenant Commander in the Italian Navy and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Giulia Bonfà serves in the Italian Navy as one of the 10% of women who make up the Italian Armed Forces. She currently works on maritime policy and international relations as part of the Italian Navy General Staff, prior to which she served as the flag aide in Operation IRINI, which aims to enforce the UN arms embargo to Libya. Most notably, Bonfà became the commanding officer of a minesweeper ship, the Chioggia, at the age of 33. An anti-submarine warfare specialist, she has served in the future operations branch of the Italian Navy Fleet Command and spent several years on board the Italian destroyer Andrea Doria and frigate Zeffiro. Bonfà took part in the biggest NATO anti-submarine warfare exercise, Dynamic Manta, as well as several maritime exercises and real-world missions, including the EU’s first-ever naval operation, Atalanta. She has also been deployed to Lebanon, where she acted as the deputy commander of the Italian joint multimodal operational unit within a UN-led operation.

Eleonor Carter
Eleanor Carter

Research Director of the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) at the University of Oxford and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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A British academic, Eleanor Carter is a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford Blavatnik School of Government and the Research Director of the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab). GO Lab is a research and policy centre that considers, designs and evaluates new approaches to improve social outcomes. Addressing challenges in public service outsourcing and the structure of partnerships between the government, private sector and other organisations, her research explores the potential of novel contracting arrangements, such as social outcomes contracts and impact bonds, in order to facilitate purposeful partnerships and effective services. A former policy advisor to the United Kingdom’s Cabinet Office on social investment and finance, Carter has also undertaken collaborative research projects with the Department for Work and Pensions. Her research has influenced policy design and evaluation strategies of government departments, and her work has also been published in leading policy journals.

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Saška Cvetkovska

Co-Founder, President and Editor-in-Chief of the Investigative Reporting Lab and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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An award-winning investigative reporter from North Macedonia, Saska Cvetkovska co-founded the Investigative Reporting Lab, a non-profit media organisation that operates in the Balkans. As the Editor-in-Chief, she works to increase the impact of investigating reporting by creating new narratives through film and campaigning. Cvetkovska currently produces “Редакција” (“Newsroom”), a documentary series that follows investigative journalists to increase public trust in the media. Cvetkovska has worked on national and cross-border investigations that have exposed domestic and transnational crime, corruption, the illicit trade of arms and disinformation wars. Notably, she was the lead reporter of ‘Spooks and Spin – Information War in the Balkans’, the Organized Crime and Corruption Project (OCCRP) project that exposed Russian and US influence in information warfare during the 2016 US presidential election. In addition to offering pro bono training to justice institutions and mentoring young journalists, Cvetkovska has developed the Mediapedia database of media ownership and Getdata, an online tool that maps data resources.

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Annita Demetriou

President of the Cypriot House of Representatives and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Annita Demetriou is the first woman and youngest person to serve as the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus. A strong female figure on an island long-dominated by male politicians, Demetriou is among the eight women who currently serve in the country’s 56-seat parliamentary body. The Cypriot politician has championed women’s rights and gender equality, most notably having delivered legislation that criminalises sexism and discrimination against women. Demetriou firmly believes that equal participation in decision-making is essential for a functioning democracy. She is the Vice President of the liberal-conservative Democratic Rally (DISY) party. She is also a Women Political Leaders’ Ambassador on behalf of the Cypriot House of Representatives. Throughout her two terms as a Member of the House of Representatives, Demetriou has served as the deputy chair of parliamentary committees on equal opportunities between men and women, as well as education and culture. She has also acted as the spokesperson of the Cypriot president during his election campaign.

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Anna Júlia Donáth

Member of the European Parliament and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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A Hungarian politician, Anna Júlia Donáth is a Member of the European Parliament for the Renew Europe group. Passionate about fundamental human rights, her work largely focuses on labour rights, the rule of law, non-discrimination and civic space. As an MEP, she sits on the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) committees and belongs to the Democracy, Rule of Law & Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group. She also contributes to the parliamentary investigation on the use of Pegasus and other surveillance spyware and has been assigned to the Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation (INGE). Notably, she has been lauded for her use of social media to connect with citizens. She is a leading figure of the Hungarian Momentum Movement political party and led protests against an unjust labour law, nicknamed the ‘slave law’.

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Daumantas Dvilinskas

Co-Founder and CEO of TransferGo and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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A serial entrepreneur and fintech expert from Lithuania, Daumantas Dvilinskas is the Co-Founding CEO of TransferGo, a London-based, high-growth and purely digital global money transfer service. Its innovative digital ‘local in, local out’ business model works with banks worldwide to enable cheaper, faster and safer cross-border money transfers. TransferGo’s main goal is to increase the accessibility of transfers to migrant workers, who make regular payments to their families back at home, by reducing costs and facilitating same-day purchasing power. Dvilinskas challenges monopolies in the banking industry by targeting niche customers with a superior product experience. He has also co-founded Pinevio, a social content discovery platform that enables users to discover content from people with shared interests. Dvilinskas is a recipient of the Global Lithuanian Award, which is bestowed upon Lithuanian diaspora professionals in recognition of their contribution to the economy, science, culture and international presence of Lithuania.

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Emine Dzhaparova

Ukrainian First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Emine Dzhaparova serves as the First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. She is responsible for policy planning, cooperation with international organisations, public diplomacy and the Ukrainian Institute’s activities, representing Ukrainian culture to the world. She joined the MFA as the First Deputy Minister with the idea to establish the Crimea Platform aimed at the de-occupation of the Crimean peninsula. Today, this unique diplomatic tool unites over 60 countries and international organisations. Dzhaparova is also a Chairperson of the National Commission of Ukraine for UNESCO and coordinates cooperation with the organisation. Prior to this, she was a journalist in Crimea and witnessed the 2014 occupation of the peninsula by Russian invaders. As a Crimean Tatar, she has dedicated her life to the liberation of her homeland and her compatriots. After being forced to leave the peninsula, Dzhaparova served as the first deputy minister of information policy of Ukraine and considerably contributed to strengthening Ukraine’s strategic communications both domestically and abroad. Dzhaparova was awarded the Mark Palmer Prize for her support of the Ukrainian people, especially Crimean Tatars, and her leadership in the fight against Russian aggression.

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Yann Fleureau

Co-Founder of Cardiologs and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Yann Fleureau is a French engineer, entrepreneur and thought leader in the application of artificial intelligence in healthcare. He co-founded Cardiologs to enhance cardiac care and specifically heart disease diagnostics through the use of AI and cloud technology. The medical technology start-up is famed for developing one of the world’s first CE-marked and FDA-approved medical devices powered by deep learning technology. Under Fleureau’s leadership as CEO, Cardiologs became a market leader in the United States and diagnoses over two million patients worldwide each year. Named BNP Paribas European Innovator of the Year and among the MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 Europe, Fleureau is now pursuing new projects to positively impact the field of digital medicine through deep technology. He is also an active investor in deep medical and biotechnologies, including surgical robotics, alternative proteins and AI diagnostics.

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Selection process


The European Young Leaders (EYL40) 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 1985).
  • Candidates must be a national of an EU member state, the UK, Ukraine, Moldova or 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, usually scheduled for March and September.

Please click HERE for the Selection Guidelines 2025 that will give you an idea of the process and will provide you with a link to the nomination/application form.

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

We look forward to receiving your applications and nominations.

* References to Kosovo here are used without prejudice to positions on status and are 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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