About

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.


Listen here to the leading views of our EYLs on a variety of topics

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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Philanthropy & the business case for human rights with Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Antonio Zappulla

Leading view

Philanthropy & the business case for human rights with Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Antonio Zappulla

Antonio Zappulla

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Author Francesca Cavallo on Rebel Girls, bro-culture and crowd-funding

Leading view

Author Francesca Cavallo on Rebel Girls, bro-culture and crowd-funding

Francesca Cavallo

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Meet the EYL40

Annalisa Camilli
Annalisa Camilli

Investigative journalist specialising in immigration, 2019 European Young Leader

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Annalisa is an Italian journalist credited for drawing attention to a wide variety of social issues. Currently working for the news magazine Internazionale, her articles have extensively covered immigration in Italy and Greece as well as human rights and gender inequality across Europe. Having previous experience at Associated press, her stories regularly underline the hardships endured by migrants while crossing the Mediterranean as well as their treatment once in Europe. She is the winner of the 2017 Anne Lindt journalism award for her investigation “The boat without a name” for which she has spent six months investigating the deadliest shipwreck, searching the 28 survivors who are now living all over Europe. She is also a regular contributor to international news outlets such as the Washington Tribune and Politico.

Francesca Cavallo
Francesca Cavallo

Author & Entrepreneur, Founder of Timbuktu Labs, 2019 European Young Leader

Show more information on Francesca Cavallo

Francesca is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and founder of Timbuktu Labs. She is the co-creator of “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls”, a collection of 100 tales of extraordinary women that has become a publishing sensation. As the most successful new title in the history of crowdfunding, it has sold more than 3.5mn copies and has been translated into dozens of languages. Francesca’s career began in theatre, where she worked as both a manager for a theatre company and as a playwright. In 2012, she moved to California to co-found a children’s media start-up called Timbuktu Labs, Inc. Since then, she has authored nine picture books that have been translated in more than 47 languages.

Riccardo Sabatini
Riccardo Sabatini

Scientist and Leading Tech Entrepreneur, 2019 European Young Leader

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Riccardo is a renowned Italian scientist and entrepreneur specialised in numerical modelling of complex systems such as financial markets and computational genomics. In 2015, Riccardo and his lab presented an algorithm to predict traits such as height, eye colour, and even facial structure based on reading a person’s genome via a tiny blood sample. Today, he’s attempting to solve drug design at the genomic scale with his company, Orionis Biosciences. Riccardo is also deeply involved in education for entrepreneurs. He founded the Quantum ESPRESSO Foundation, a non-profit charity supporting young researchers around the globe to get involved in material science.

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Selection process

Selection process for the Balkan class is now open

Friends of Europe is looking for outstanding candidates to join our Balkan European Young Leaders Class of 2020. Building on our successful European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme, we are expanding by selecting six Young Leaders from the Western Balkan region. These six Balkan Young Leaders will be invited to take part in all activities organised within our EYL40 programme.

We are looking for candidates who

  • Are between 30 and 40 years of age (born on or after 1 January 1980);
  • Have proven track records as established thought leaders in their fields of activity;
  • Reached, or are on track to reaching, the highest ranks of their field of expertise;
  • Candidates must be a national of 1 of the 6 Balkan states currently involved in enlargement negotiations (Serbia, Kosovo*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro);
  • Candidates are required to be fluent in English, the programme’s working language.

Current and previous European Young Leaders include

  • Eneko Atxa, Chef at three-Michelin-starred restaurant Azurmendi, Spain
  • Danka Barteková, Olympic Bronze Medallist, Slovakia
  • Clément Beaune, Europe and G20 Advisor to President Emmanuel Macron, France
  • John Collison, President & Co-Founder of Stripe, Ireland
  • Alexandra Dariescu, Concert Pianist and Producer of ‘The Nutcracker and I’, Romania
  • Carole Dieschbourg, Minister of the Environment, Luxembourg
  • Selina Juul, Founder and Chairman of the Stop Wasting Food movement, Denmark
  • Kaja Kallas, Leader of the liberal Reform party, Estonia
  • Magid Magid, Member of the European Parliament, United Kingdom
  • Frédéric Mazzella, CEO and Founder of BlablaCar, France
  • Souad Mekhennet, Correspondent for the Washington Post, Germany
  • Bastian Obermayer, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and recipient of the ‘Panama Papers’, Germany
  • Marko Pavic, Minister for Labour and the Pension System, Croatia
  • Jens Spahn, Minister for Health, Germany

Application process

For nominations:
Please send the full name, date of birth and all contact details of the candidate that you wish to nominate. Please include a short biography of their professional background and achievements, as well as a letter explaining why you believe that they are a suitable candidate for the programme.

For personal applications:
Please send your CV (including date of birth and full contact details), together with a cover letter explaining why you believe that you should be considered for the programme.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 11 October 2019
All submissions should be sent directly to eyl40@friendsofeurope.org

* For the United Nations Development Programme, references to Kosovo in this document accordingly shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).
For the European Union, this designation used is 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.

The deadline for the selection process of the “regular” EYL40 class of 2020 has passed.

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