About

This year’s EYL40 Class of 2023 includes award-winning investigative journalists, a mega-star of modern-day football, politicians from all levels of government and speakers of national parliaments, a male supermodel and philanthropist, renowned scholars, innovators leading the green digital transition, as well as creative tech-based healthcare professionals.


In 2012, 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 10th 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

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Meet the EYL40

Beatrice Leanza
Beatrice Leanza

Cultural Strategist, Museum Director and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Beatrice is an Italian cultural strategist with over 15 years of experience developing urban and social impact programmes. Currently, she is the Director of MUDAC, Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts in Lausanne. She is an advocate of practical creativity for educational empowerment in sustainable futures. Prior to her current role, Beatrice co-founded B/Side Design, an urban and social impact organisation, which worked on the establishment of The Global School, the first independent design and multidisciplinary research institute in China. She has previously served as the creative director for Beijing Design Week, China’s largest and internationally renowned design and architecture event, and worked on the urban regeneration plan of Beijing’s Baitasi historic district. She is also a member of the advisory board for Design Trust in Hong Kong.

Lia Quartapelle
Lia Quartapelle

Member of the Italian parliament, Research Fellow at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Lia Quartapelle

Lia is a rising star in Italian politics. She is the Leader of the Democratic Party in the Committee on Foreign and European Affairs, as well as the Head of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the National Secretariat. In her work, Lia focuses on human rights, developing economies and Africa. In addition to serving as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council, Lia is the President of the Italian Chapter of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) and of the Italian section of the Women in International Security (WIIS) network. As a Research Fellow, Lia coordinates the activities of Africa programme at ISPI and lectures on policies for development cooperation at the University of Pavia. She has published a number of reports and articles on, Italian development aid strategies, as well as economist development and aid effectiveness in Africa. Prior to her current roles, Lia worked for the Mozambique government as an economist and policy development analyst.

Antonio Zappulla
Antonio Zappulla

CEO, Thomson Reuters Foundation and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Antonio Zappulla

Currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Antonio oversees the philanthropic arm of Thomson Reuters, leading on communications, monitoring and evaluation activities as well as the development functions of the organisation. Prior to his present role, Antonio worked as the Executive Producer at Bloomberg Television where he was in charge of news, factual programmes and documentaries for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He is also a member of the Pioneers Class at Stanford Graduate School of Business for the LEAD Program in Corporate Innovation.

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Selection process

THE CALL FOR APPLICATIONS/NOMINATIONS FOR THE EYL40 CLASS OF 2024 IS NOW OFFICIALLY 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 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 1984).
  • Candidates must be a national of an EU member state, the United Kingdom, Ukraine 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 EYL40 seminars during the programme year, usually scheduled for March and September.

Please click HERE for the 2024 selection guidelines, which will give you an idea of the process and provide you with link to the nomination/application form.

Please note that the deadline for the nominations/applications is 28 April 2023.

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.

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