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’
Ten years ago, 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 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
Leading viewThe Frankly Speaking Podcast - Iran: Unchallenged, till now
Leading viewEpisode 12. Frankly Speaking Podcast Series: Special Focus Russian invasion of Ukraine
Leading viewEverything you didn't know about air pollution. It's scary stuff!
Leading viewJoss Garman on the climate crisis: how bad is it (bad!) and can we get out of it (yes!)?
Leading viewUna Mullally on abortion rights, marriage equality and galvanising a generation for change
Meet the EYL40
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 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 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 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. From 2018 to 2021 he served as Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure in the cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Since the 2021 elections, Steffen has been serving as one his parliamentary group’s deputy chairs, under the leadership of chair Ralph Brinkhaus. In this capacity, he oversees the group’s legislative activities on agriculture, environmental policy, nature conservation and consumer protection.
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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 is a researcher and analyst specialising in the Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has consulted for a number of international organisations including in the areas of peace building and civil society.
She has worked with the International Crisis Group (ICG), the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) among others. 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.
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.
Alessandro serves as a Member of the Italian Parliament. He is also the Co-Founder and former secretary of the Italian political organisation, Movimenta, prior to which he worked as a strategic advisor for H-Farm’s Education division. Alessandro is the former head of cabinet at the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research. He has prior experience as a special advisor on economic diplomacy to the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and as a special advisor on innovation, entrepreneurship, youth and European affairs to the Italian Minister of Economic Development. Alessandro has also worked as an official at the Council of the European Union dealing with global economic governance and under the Italian Prime Minister’s office in Rome as part of the G8 summit team.
APPLICATIONS FOR THE EYL CLASS OF 2023 ARE NOW CLOSED.
NOMINATIONS FOR UKRAINIAN NATIONALS* ARE OPEN UNTIL 24 JUNE 2022
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.
- Candidates must be between 30 and 40 years of age (born on or after 1 January 1983).
- 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 of the two EYL seminars during the programme year.
Please click HERE for the detailed Selection Guidelines 2023.
Should you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
*The current crisis has prompted us to open up the programme to Ukraine as a pilot initiative. In future years we hope to find a way of including more people who are not EU nationals/citizens but are contributing positively to current Europe (e.g., candidates from our neighbourhood countries and refugees).
**References to Kosovo here are used without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UN Security Council resolution 1244/99 and the International Court of Justice Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
- Area of Expertise
- Area of Expertise
- Climate, Energy & Sustainability
- Area of Expertise
- Climate, Energy & Sustainability
- Area of Expertise
- Climate, Energy & Sustainability