Wajahat is an award-winning playwright and TV host of Pakistani descent. At Affinis Labs, he works to create social entrepreneurship initiatives that have a positive impact for marginalised communities and to empower social entrepreneurs and communities to come up with innovative solutions to tackle the world problems. Wajahat is the author of The domestic Crusaders, which was the first major play about Muslim Americans published after 9/11. He is also the lead author of the investigative report about anti-Muslim discrimination Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America from the Center for American Progress. He also previously worked as the co-host of the Al Jazeera American Network.
Bold leadership, ground-breaking ideas, unparalleled passion …
For almost a decade the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme has brought together the brightest minds and outside the box leaders to put their innovative thinking to work at building a more forward-thinking Europe that is a global champion for a better world. The European Young Leaders represent a new generation of leaders, able to tackle the increasing disconnects between citizens and political elites, to rebuild the trust that is vital to democracies.
These promising and established leaders come from a variety of backgrounds including politics, business, civil society, arts, science and the media.
The 2020-2021 Class of European Young Leaders:
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
Alex Budak is a serial social entrepreneur and faculty member at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He created and teaches one of the university’s most popular courses, which equips and inspires students on how to become changemakers. Prior to joining UC Berkeley, he co-founded StartSomeGood, a leading social impact crowdfunding platform which has helped over 1,000 changemakers in 50 countries raise over $10mn altogether. Alex is also the former country director of Reach for Change, Scandinavia’s leading social impact incubator, in Stockholm. A mentor, coach and advisor to social entrepreneurs around the world, Alex has delivered keynote speeches and lectures on leadership and social innovation in venues from the White House to the World Bank, from Cambodia to the Arctic Circle. His work has been featured in various publications, including Forbes, The Guardian and The Washington Post.
“Victoria Herrmann is the President and Managing Director of the Arctic Institute. Her
research and writing focus on climate change, community adaptation, human
development, and resource economies, with a particular focus on Arctic oil and gas.
Herrmann previously worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s
Energy and Climate Program. She was awarded a Eureka! Prize from the Baker
Institute for Entrepreneurship in 2012 and a Fulbright Scholarship to Canada to
pursue Arctic research in 2013. She is the author of Arctic Melt: Turning Resource
Extraction into Human Development (2015). She has been published in many peerreview
journals and appeared on BBC and CNN, among others. In 2016, Herrmann
travelled across the United States for the National Geographic-funded book on
climate change stories America’s Eroding Edges. She is a Gates Scholar at the
Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, where she is pursuing
a PhD in Political Geography of the Arctic.”
Sabrina Hersi Issa is the CEO of Be Bold Media, a digital agency for global advocacy that notably produces a hackathon series to build and improve technology tools used for humanitarian relief and refugee services. She is the co-founder of End Famine, a campaign dedicated to developing sustainable solutions to hunger, food security and humanitarian assistance. Hersi Issa organises Rights x Tech, a gathering for technologists and activists, and runs Survivor Fund, a political fund dedicated to supporting the rights of survivors of sexualised violence. She currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, where she leads research on journalism ecosystems and how philanthropy can support efforts to build diverse, inclusive media ecosystems. In addition, she curates New/s Disruptors, a project working to re-frame the narrative of digital disruption in journalism to champion the experiences and contributions of diverse voices. Sabrina is a former fellow of the Roosevelt Institute where she worked on issues related to technology, human rights and humanitarian disasters. She has also worked for Afghans for Civil Society, Oxfam America, NBC News and National Public Radio.
Derek Johnson is the Executive Director of the Global Zero, the international movement for a world without nuclear weapons. As a creative strategist working on the front lines of catalytic advocacy, foreign policy and social change, Derek has spent the last seven years positioning Global Zero as a highly credible source of policy analysis and thought leadership, a trusted intermediary among nuclear-armed states, and a provocative advocacy operation in key regions. He has a knack for identifying strategic opportunities and the right tactics that can push the message into the mainstream in order to shine a spotlight or apply pressure. In addition to developing organizational strategy, overseeing day-to-day operations, and leading fundraising efforts, Derek also spearheads special projects — from coordinating sensitive track-1.5 initiatives to producing viral and award-winning digital content.
Before taking the helm at Global Zero, Derek worked to advance interfaith dialogue and cooperation on social issues at the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions and helped organize its flagship convening in Melbourne, Australia. He also worked to enhance access to justice, human rights and rule of law at JUSTICE, the British section of the International Commission of Jurists in London, and worked as an attorney for several years in Boston.
Derek is a graduate of Cornell College and Boston College Law School, with an academic background in English literature, philosophy and international law. He is also a member of the Munich Young Leaders group of rising experts in foreign and security policy, jointly organized by Körber Foundation and the Munich Security Conference, as well as the European Young Leaders group organized by Friends of Europe.”
Sarah Jones is an award-winning all platform journalist with a passion for attracting
young audiences to hard news. Over 67,000 people are supporters of her Sarah
Jones Reports on social media. In 2013, she moved to New York for a full-time
news gathering position with Al Jazeera America. She left her job two years later to
pursue a fellowship with the International Reporting Project where she was given
the opportunity to report on health and development in the Philippines. In 2016, she
was selected as one of the top one thousand most influential Twitter profiles from
across the worlds of marketing, advertising, digital and media. Prior to joining Al
Jazeera America, Jones was freelancing as an International Assignment Editor for
CNN at its headquarters in Atlanta; as an online and print journalist for Gulf News
(Dubai); and as an online journalist for ITN’s Channel 4 (UK).”
Adele is an expert in strategic cognitive skills, advanced theory of mind, and applied physics. Her research focuses on operators in time-limited, life-critical, restricted communication environments and how they employ Theory of Mind (ToM) in their mission. Adele’s previous experience includes working as a NASA Flight Controller/Astronaut Instructor, in which role she provided support for over 90 US Space Shuttle, International Space Station (ISS), and Russian spacewalks, and trained five Shuttle crews and two ISS increments in Extra Vehicle Activity (EVA). In addition to her current work as a Research Affiliate at MIT, she has also recently been appointed by the United States of America as a technical team member to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Science and Technology Organization through its Collaborative Support Office.
Meghan Milloy is the Co-Founder of Republican Women for Progress (RWFP) and the Director of Strategic Communications at the Institute for International Bankers. Prior to this, she was a fellow at the Robert Bosch Foundation, where her work focused on trade issues in the German public and private sectors. Meghan previously served as the chair of Republican Women for Hillary (RWFH) and director of financial services policy at the American Action Forum (AAF). During the Obama administration, Meghan worked as a presidential management fellow at the Small Business Administration on matters of financial inclusion and as a counsel with the House Financial Services Committee. She was an intern at the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the George W. Bush White House. Meghan has also worked in the office of former Senate majority leader Trent Lott and has volunteered for the campaigns of Haley Barbour, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton.
Negar Mortazavi an Iranian-American journalist and policy analyst based in Washington, with over a decade of experience covering Iranian politics and US foreign policy towards the Middle East. She is a columnist for The Independent, the host of the Iran Podcast and regularly contributes to CNN, MSNBC, NPR, BBC, Aljazeera and France24, among other international outlets in China, Turkey and Israel. Her work has been published various publications, including Foreign Policy magazine, The Intercept, Politico and HuffPost, and she frequently speaks about Iranian affairs at international institutions, most notably the Atlantic Council, Gulf International Forum, MIT, Johns Hopkins University and American University. Negar has previously worked as a TV Presenter at Voice of America’s Persian service where she hosted a flagship show on current affairs, prior to which was a research assistant at MIT and UNDP and researcher at Harvard Law School.
Ilhan Omar is the first Somali-American Member of Congress, the first woman of colour to represent Minnesota, and one of the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress. Since she arrived in Washington, she has been a champion of progressive politics, making her hugely popular amongst her constituents whilst also drawing the ire of notable figures. Prior to her current position, she served in the Minnesota House of Representatives as the Assistant Minority Leader.
Kira Randinsky is director of data science of eBay, responsible for the next generation predictive data mining, deep learning and natural language processing solutions that will transform eCommerce. Before this, Kira co-founded SalesPredict, working in the field of predictive marketing by building solutions leveraging large-scale data mining to predict sales conversions. As well as this, Kira is involved in research activities, gives workshops and tutorials, and is visiting Professor at Techiunion. In 2013, she was on MIT’s 35 Innovators Under 35 list.
Sam Rasoul is the Democratic Party Member of the Virginia House of Delegates for the 11th district. He was born in Ohio to a Palestinian immigrant family. After college, he became the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit healthcare firm. He channelled his passion for healthcare reform into finding more compassionate ways to care for seniors and helping with maternal and child health in East Africa. Rasoul currently has his own small business which helps organisations become more successful through developing better business plans and through investing in their employees. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2014. He is the only Muslim member of the Virginia General Assembly.
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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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