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 Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo
Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo

President, Libres e Iguales, 2013 European Young Leader

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Cayetana is a former Member of the Spanish Parliament (2008- 2011) and Vice-President of the Joint Committee for the European Union and a Member of the Justice and Constitutional Committees. She was also Deputy Speaker for the Partido Popular of Madrid and Director of the International Department of FAES Foundation. She was awarded the Silver Microphone of the Spanish Professional Association of Informants of Press, Radio and Television for her articles published in El Mundo. She holds a BA and a PhD in History from Oxford University.

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’

Cristina Elena Batlan
Cristina Elena Batlan

Founder and Creative Director at Musette and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Cristina is Founder, CEO and Head of Design at Musette, one of the leading fashion accessory companies in Romania. The brand is present all over the world, with stores in Paris, New York, Luxembourg, Beirut, Budapest, Bulgaria and Israel. In 2004, Cristina was named one of Romania’s “Top Successful Women” and obtained the Oskar Capital award in the “Promising Entrepreneur of the Year” category. In 2005 she launched a new brand, Cristhelen B, exclusive property of Musette. In 2011, she received the prestigious Entrepreneurship Prize at the Business Woman Gala and was named one of the 100 Romanian Successful Young Managers of the Year. She is also Founder of the Arena Leilor Foundation and a member of the International Dinners Club.

Remus Aurel Benta
Remus Aurel Benta

Chief Executive Officer at DAW Benta Romania, 2013 European Young Leader

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Remus is CEO of DAW Benta Romania, a leading company in the field of construction, transportation, real estate and property management. The Benta Group has extended its activities all throughout Eastern Europe and holds showrooms in over 40 different locations. Since 2001 Remus and the DAW Benta Group have been rewarded on numerous occasions with First Place in the Top Businesses and Businessmen lists of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 2011 Remus was listed as one of the top 500 wealthiest people in Romania by Forbes Magazine.

Selene Biffi
Selene Biffi

Portfolio Specialist at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), social entrepreneur and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Selene works for the Prosperity Unit at the UNDP in Kabul, Afghanistan as a Portfolio Specialist. She is the founder of several social ventures, including Plain Ink, which creates free, educational comics for children and communities in developing countries, and Youth Action for Change (YAC), which provides high-quality and free online courses for young change-makers in 130 counties. Selene also serves as a member of RENA, an Italian association of young professionals promoting innovation, merit, youth empowerment and a new generation of local public policies, and the Italian Economic Development Minister’s Taskforce on Innovative Startups. She has previously worked as a consultant, trainer and speaker for various organisations, including the UN, Amnesty International, the World Bank, Oxfam, OSCE, the Council of Europe, Columbia University and Microsoft. She is a recipient of the Mother Teresa Award for Social Justice.

Steffen Bilger
Steffen Bilger

Parliamentary State Secretary Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Germany, 2013 European Young Leader

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Steffen has been a Member of the Bundestag since 2009 and Chairman of the North Württemberg district branch of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) political party since 2011. Steffen joined the CDU and the Young Union (youth section of the CDU/CSU) in 1996 and was elected Chairman of the Baden-Württemberg Land branch of the Pupils’ Union. At the Parliament he is a Member of the Committee on Transport, Building and Urban Development, the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development and runs a study commission on growth, well-being and quality of life. He has also worked for the energy service company MVV Energiedienstleistungen GmbH in 2006. He holds a degree in law from Tübingen University.

Beata Bublewicz
Beata Bublewicz

Deputy Director of the Department of Tourism and Sport at the Marshal Office of Warmia-Mazury Voivodeship and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Beata Bublewicz is a former member of the Polish parliament, during which time she served as a member of the International Affairs Committee and focused on Polish relations with Argentina, India and Israel. Before devoting herself to politics, she worked as an entrepreneur for eight years and held the post of manager at General Motors Poland and Opel Polska. She is the co-author of “Bestie Behind The Steering Wheel” and author of “The 6th Gear. Biography of The Best 80’s & 90’s Polish Rally Driver”, written about her father, the late Marian Bublewicz. Founded in his honour, Beata also chairs the Marian Bublewicz Foundation, which advocates for the improvement of access to education.

Steffen Burkhardt
Steffen Burkhardt

Director of the International Media Centre Hamburg, 2013 European Young Leader

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Steffen is Director of the International Media Centre Hamburg. He researches and teaches with a focus on media sociology, social media, privacy and public sphere. His current research includes the transformation of privacy as a consequence of the internationalisation and digitalisation of media. He is a Founding Member of the Global Communication Association and is associated with numerous international organisations and think-tanks. He is a member of the selection committee of the German National Academic Foundation and several trusts to promote press freedom, human rights and democracy.

Camille de Toledo
Camille de Toledo

Director, European Society of Authors, 2013 European Young Leader

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Camille is a European writer, creator and artist. He studied in Paris, at the London School of Economics, as well as in New York. He has published several novels, shorts and essays, such as The Inversion of Hieronymus Bosch (2005), Lives and Death of an American Terrorist (2007), and L’inquiétude d’être au monde (The Anxiety of Being in the World) (2012). In 2004, Camille won the Villa Medicis scholarship for his literary and video work. His short film, “Tango de Olvido”, was selected for the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. In 2008 he founded the European Society of Authors with other intellectual figures to promote a cultural Europe on the basis of what he coined a translation citizenship. He is the Chief Editor of www.ifverso.com and Chief Advisor of the “TLHUB.org” project, a multilingual translation platform.

Leendert de Voogd
Leendert de Voogd

Global Service Line Leader Social Intelligence Analytics at Ipsos, 2013 European Young Leader

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Leendert is Global Head of the Political and Social Practice of TNS, one of the world’s largest market research companies. From 2002 to 2007 he was Joint Managing Director of TNS Opinion, a co-ordination centre for multi-country studies based in Brussels. Leendert is a member of ESOMAR, a worldwide market, social and opinion research association. Over the last 15 years he has been in charge of the coordination of survey research in countries around the world for an important number of international institutions such as the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Parliament and the World Bank. He studied Political Science at Belgium’s Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) and also at Institut d’Etudes politiques / Sciences Po Paris.

Balazs Denes
Balazs Denes

Executive Director, European Liberties Platform (ELP), 2013 European Young Leader

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Balázs is a Hungarian lawyer and a human rights activist. In 1997 he joined the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), the country’s leading civil liberties watchdog organisation, and after holding various positions he served as the HCLU Executive Director from 2004 to 2012. Since early 2013, he is Director of the European Civil Liberties Project at the Open Society Foundations. He is a founding member of many Hungarian NGOs, and serves on the board of the Common Sense for Drug Policy Foundation and the Melymosoly Foundation. He focuses on civil liberties, human rights, communication and NGO management issues. Balázs received his law degree in 1998 from ELTE University Budapest and is a 2003-2004 Columbia University/Global Network for Public Interest Law (PILnet) Fellow.

Rokhaya Diallo
Rokhaya Diallo

Journalist, Writer, Filmmaker and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Rokhaya is a human rights activist committed to anti-racism work. She is currently the Host and Co-Editor of “Egaux, mais pas trop” (Equal, but not too much), a series of reports on diversity issues in France, and has previously held a number of noteworthy positions in the television field, basing her work primarily on social and political issues. The Founder and former president of Les Indivisibles, a French organisation that uses humour and irony to fight racism, Rokhaya is also a published author, scriptwriter and award-winning director of several documentaries. She is a member of several NGOs and organisations that base their work on social awareness and also sits on the board of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) Foundation. In 2012, she received the COJEP International Award for her work against racism and discrimination.

Ignacio Escolar
Ignacio Escolar

Founder and Director at El Diario, 2013 European Young Leader

Show more information on Ignacio Escolar

Ignacio is a journalist, political analyst and Founder and Director of www.eldiario.es, an online media political analysis site. Previously Ignacio founded and managed the well-known newspaper Publico. He also manages www.escolar.net, the most popular and widely read political blog in Spain, which was named best political and journalist blog of the year in 2008 and 2009. Ignacio is also the founder of Bitban, a technology and design consulting company for Internet media communication, working with clients all over the world. In 2009 he was awarded the José Manuel Porquet Journalism Prize, the Mujeres Progresistas Prize for declining to publish prostitution ads in Publico and the Nicolas Salmeron for Human Rights Prize.

Mary Fitzgerald
Mary Fitzgerald

Libya Researcher, non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, Friends of Europe Trustee and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Mary Fitzgerald is a researcher and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has worked on Libya for more than a decade and lived there in 2014. She has conducted research on Libya for International Crisis Group (ICG) and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) among others. She has consulted for a number of international organisations including in the areas of peace building and civil society. She is a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC, an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, King’s College London, and an Associate Fellow at ISPI in Milan. Mary has also worked on wider initiatives with UNESCO, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the British Council and other cultural organisations. Her writing has appeared in publications including Foreign Policy, The New Yorker online, the Washington Post, Financial Times and the Guardian.

Nicola Formichella
Nicola Formichella

Chief Strategy Officer at Universitas Mercatorum and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Nicola Formichella

In addition to his current role at Universitas Mercatorum, Nicola is the CEO of the Buongoverno Foundation and the President of Italianiinmente, a business accelerator and incubator for Italian start-ups. A former member of the Italian parliament, Nicola served as a member of the EU Policy Committee and the Public and Private Labour Commission, as well as the deputy head of the training of the People of Freedom Party. He was also a political advisor to the President of the Campania Region with responsibility for institutional relations. Nicola began his career in politics as a parliamentary assistant, prior to which he was a journalist at a TV station, at which he became director in 1999.

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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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