Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou is a Member of the Hellenic Parliament, where she chairs the Environment Committee. She is also the Director of the European Institute of Law, Science and Technology and an attorney-at-law, specialising in international, European and environmental and climate law, as well as international investment law. She has previously served as vice-chair of the Global Water Partnership Organization. Dionysia-Theodora is a leader in environmental and humanitarian activities and has been the recipient of several international awards, including the Global Citizenship Award for Leadership in Assisting Humanity by Orphans International Worldwide and the Green Star Award by UNEP, OCHA and Green Cross International for her contributions in the preparedness and reconstruction in cases of natural disasters.
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
Leading viewJoss Garman on the climate crisis: how bad is it (bad!) and can we get out of it (yes!)?
Leading viewNegar Mortazavi on Europe's role in the US-Iran dispute, the Trump factor and the role of media
Leading viewUna Mullally on abortion rights, marriage equality and galvanising a generation for change
Meet the EYL40
Danae is the Managing director of Navigator Shipping Consultants LTD. One of her important achievements is the organisation of the Navigator Conference since 2001 which is considered to be one of the biggest shipping events gathering the decision makers of the shipping community and speakers from all over the world on an annual basis. Through her participation in lectures and seminars, Danae has travelled the world to promote and strengthen women’s entrepreneurship. Her latest venture includes the foundation of Greek Food Obsessions, a gourmet culinary company providing the Greek and international food market with high quality Greek gourmet products from all over Greece. Danae holds a Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Surrey.
Thomas is the Founder and CEO of ERGON Foods, an affordable, high-quality Greek restaurant chain-come-grocery store outlet that now has locations in 13 cities worldwide. Thanks to a network of over 150 independent, local, artisanal producers who create 600 products under the unified ERGON brand, the company is able to offer the widest available range of the best that Greece produce has to offer. A role model and an inspiring entrepreneur, Thomas has set an encouraging example for Greek youths on how to thrive in the face of devastating recession.
As one of the most charismatic conductors of his generation, Dionysis made his debut at the age of twenty-one with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Since then, he has been awarded with several honours and was the first Greek to receive a Conducting Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival. By the age of twenty, Dionysis had won European Young Musician of the Year Prize and had been featured on a Greek postage stamp. This young virtuoso has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Cité de la Musique in Paris and the Barbican Centre in London and has worked with orchestras such as the Vienna Symphony and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, among others.
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.
Konstantinos is a Member of the Hellenic Parliament since June 2009, serving as Deputy Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights for the Hellenic Parliament. He is also an attorney by profession practicing in Athens. He received a first degree in Law from the National and Kapodestrian University of Athens and an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from the University of London (UEL) from which he graduated with honours. Afterwards he continued his studies at the University of Edinburgh specialising in intellectual property. In 2011 Konstantinos attended the “Leadership for the 21st Century” programme at Harvard.
Domna is a Greek deputy minister and economist working on growth strategy, capital markets and public finance. She was previously reforms’ advisor to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Leader of New Democracy and Greek Prime Minister. Domna has advised several governmental and non-governmental institutions including the UN Development Programme, the British Council and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). She has also worked for the OECD in Paris and Athens as an economist and competition expert. In addition to her governmental work, Domna teaches economics courses at Cambridge and University College London and has written a number of publications and books.
Michael has over 15 years of experience in the commercialisation of R&D results, innovation consultation and non-profit management, having worked for several companies and organisations across the globe and participated as a trainer and speaker at conferences on philanthropy and the concept of giving. He currently serves as the Director of Programming at The Hellenic Initiative, a global, non-profit and secular institution which aims to mobilise support and investment for sustainable economic renewal in Greece. He has overseen the Hellenic Initiative’s philanthropic work since the institution’s founding, having managed over $16.5mn in support of the future of Greece. Michael is also the co-owner of Green Systems, an engineering procurement and construction company in Athens, and Brainomix, a start-up company that develops medical imaging software to assess the eligibility of acute stroke patients for life saving treatment. He serves as a committee member of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, dedicated to achieving Greek competitiveness through properly informing and adequately motivating business employees.
Based in Nairobi, Matina covers economics and investment across Africa for the Wall Street Journal. She was previously based in Belgium, where she covered the eurozone crisis from the WSJ Brussels bureau. Before joining the WSJ, she wrote for the Economist, where she won the 2010 Marjorie Deane financial journalism award. Matina is particularly interested in migration-related issues in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. In 2015, she was one of the few foreign journalists reporting from Eritrea as part of an exclusive investigation into Eritrean refugees. She has written for other top media outlets such as Eleftherotypia and the Guardian and has appeared as a political commentator on European and Greek affairs on Al Jazeera English and the BBC.
Dimitris Tsingos is a serial tech entrepreneur and early stage investor. He is the Founder and CEO of Startech Ventures, a private venture builder and seed investor in Greece. The first Greek seed fund member of the European Business Angels Network, the group has helped launch more than ten successful IT start-ups. Dimitris has been at the helm of various start-ups, including Epignosis, Yodeck, Cycleops and Testilio, among others, and most notably AbZorba Games, a mobile gaming service which was acquired by Novomatic. A passionate European federalist and co-author of the Rome Manifesto, Dimitris initiated the People’s Movement for the European Federal Union. He has also founded the Hellenic Business Angel Network and the Hellenic Start-up Association, a collective effort of Greek start-up entrepreneurs promoting high-growth and innovative entrepreneurship in Greece. He is also the former president of the leading organisation of youth entrepreneurship in Europe, the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs, and a former fellow at the Marshall Memorial and PSL Research University.
Maria was the CEO of Fereikos-Helix, a company that oversees the development of organic snail farming globally and CEO of Maria Vlachou LTD, specialising in the branding, packaging and export of Greek high-quality agricultural products. In 2011, Maria she was awarded the Greek Entrepreneur of the Year prize and in 2013, she was included in the Fortune list of “40 under 40” in Greece. In addition, she was on the advisory board of Hellenic Start-Up Association and mentor at several start-up initiatives such as Startup live Athens.
Maria left us too soon on 24 July 2019.
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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.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Application deadline: Monday, 15 March 2021
To read in detail about the selection process, please click here
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