Meet the new EYL40 Class of 2024!

This year’s EYL40 Class of 2024 includes an Olympic swimmer, a glaciologist, politicians from all levels of government and members of national parliaments, a winemaker, green tech entrepreneurs and social activists, prize-winning journalists, Unicorn and start-up founders and CEOs, a pioneering playwright of Roma feminist theatre and many more!



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

Policy Voices | Are we alone in the universe?

Leading view

Policy Voices | Are we alone in the universe?

Start playback
Policy Voices | Like Goebbels: Polish propaganda and the demise of democracy

Leading view

Policy Voices | Like Goebbels: Polish propaganda and the demise of democracy

Start playback
Policy Voices | The Netherlands chose the far-right. What happens next?

Leading view

Policy Voices | The Netherlands chose the far-right. What happens next?

Start playback
Policy Voices Podcast | Keeping the human in the loop: How to make a success story of AI in health

Leading view

Policy Voices Podcast | Keeping the human in the loop: How to make a success story of AI in health

Start playback
Continue to Meet the EYL

Meet the EYL40

Photo of Jamila Aanzi
Jamila Aanzi

Member of the Dutch Appeal Advisory Committee on Childcare Allowance and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Jamila Aanzi

Jamila Aanzi is a leading independent strategic consultant, educator and board member. She currently serves on the Dutch government appeal advisory commission to provide advice about the childcare benefits affair. Furthermore, she is a board member of the World Press Photo and the Stichting JES Rijland, an organisation that promotes the rights of youngsters in education and society. For various international clients, Aanzi provides consulting and coaching services about leadership, empowerment, education, diversity and inclusion. Aanzi previously worked as a senior international political trainer for the Max van der Stoel Foundation, with political parties in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and North Africa on diversity, the inclusion of young people and women, EU enlargement and democracy. Previously, she was the Dutch women’s representative to the United Nations, a member of the European Elections Programme Committee of the Dutch Social Democratic Party (PvdA) and the vice president of FNV Young, the youth network of the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions.

Martijn Arets
Martijn Arets

International expert and thinker in the field of emergence and development of the collaborative economy and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Martijn Arets

Martijn Arets is an international independent platform expert and has been exploring the rise of the platform economy and its impact on society from his role as ‘professional outsider’ for over a decade. He talks to all stakeholders involved, conducts research and takes an active role in the (public) debate. He gathered his knowledge by talking to more than 500 stakeholders in 15 countries. He shares his insights through presentations, consultancy, his weekly newsletter and contributions in the (international) media. He wrote the book ‘Platform Revolution – From Amazon to Zalando, the impact of platforms on how we work and live’ (in Dutch). Arets is the Founder of GigCV, a data sharing standard that allows 100,000 platform workers to access their data. He is also associated with the WageIndicator Foundation, where, among other things, he collaborated on a ‘living tarif’ for platform workers. Last, Arets has been part of the Platformeconomy lectorate at The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

Photo of Loubna Bouarfa
Loubna Bouarfa

Chairwoman of the Innovation Board at Envision Pharma Group and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Loubna Bouarfa

A Dutch machine learning scientist turned entrepreneur, Loubna Bouarfa currently holds the position of Chairwoman of the Innovation Board at Envision Pharma Group (ESG). In this role, she focuses on emphasising the broader mission of embedding and excelling AI across EPG. Bouarfa is also the Founder and former CEO of OKRA Technologies, a leading artificial intelligence analytics company in the life sciences sector. With OKRA.ai transitioning to a horizontal function within EPG, her expertise will now focus on shaping EPG’s AI strategy and championing EPG’s position as a thought leader in this space. Bouarfa was awarded the CEO of the Year Award at the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards. As a former member of the European Union High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, she supported the implementation of the Union’s strategy on AI within the digital single market.

Jamy Goewie
Jamy Goewie

Partner at Shaping Impact Group and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Jamy Goewie

Jamy is a Partner at Shaping Impact Group, a fund management company, prior to which she served as the community and market development director at the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA). Jamy is the Founder and former director of Ashoka, the worldwide network of social entrepreneurs. She also founded the Child at Venture Foundation, which focuses on the development of young entrepreneurs in Asia and Africa, and served as the foundation’s executive director for over seven years. She remains on the board of Child at Venture today and also serves as a member of the board of Children of Bulgaria Foundation, which supports Bulgarian orphanages through food and education programmes. Additionally, she has previously served as a member of the European Leadership Platform advisory board.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert

Jeanine is a Member of the Dutch House of Representatives since 2010 and a Member of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy. She previously worked at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enlargement, KPMG, the City of Amsterdam and also served as a Member of the European Parliament. In February 2010, as rapporteur on the issue, Jeanine led the European Parliament vote that rejected an EU-US agreement which would have granted US authorities access to European citizens’ banking data without taking account the European legislation on data protection.

Jironet Disa
Disa Jironet

Public Prosecutor at the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and 2024 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Disa Jironet

Disa Jironet is a Dutch Public Prosecutor and author with a background in Dutch and international law. Specialised in the role of justice in society, her work adopts a new approach to criminal law by examining how societal systems and institutions can be shaped compassionately to better serve humanity. Her book “Crime and Compassion” argues for a more humane criminal climate. Acknowledging the complexity of human behaviour, Jironet remains critically optimistic that justice reform can move beyond the debate of hard or soft punishment and towards an evidence-based conversation about long-term sustainable justice and security.

Photo of Ahmad Joudeh
Ahmad Joudeh

Artistic Director of the Dance or Die Foundation and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Ahmad Joudeh

Ahmad Joudeh is a ballet dancer and choreographer, who obtained Dutch nationality. He was trained as a dancer in Syria, where he was born as a stateless refugee. During the civil war, he gave free dance classes to war-orphans and young people with Down’s syndrome. As a response to the constant threats from extremists because of his dance activities, Joudeh had the words ‘dance or die’ tattooed on his body. Upon an invitation to join the Dutch National Ballet, he moved to the Netherlands to dance with the prestigious company. He is the Artistic Director of the Dance or Die Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to contribute to cultural and social causes through dance, and his personal adage has also inspired the titles of his memoir and an Emmy Award-winning documentary that chronicles his life. Joudeh has performed on stages worldwide, including at the Eurovision Song Contest. In addition to his dancing activities, he is a High Profile Supporter of the United Nations Refugee Agency, an International Friend of SOS Children’s Villages International and an Ambassador for Pride Amsterdam.

Jesse Klaver
Jesse Klaver

Member of the Dutch House of Representatives, Leader of the Dutch green party GroenLinks, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Jesse Klaver

Jesse Klaver currently serves as the green-left party leader in the Dutch parliament, with a mandate focused on environmental and educational issues. In his time as party leader, Klaver was instrumental in capturing 10 additional parliamentary seats, rising to an all-time high of 14, and making GroenLinks the fifth most important group in the House. Previously, Klaver was the spokesperson for finance, environment and education, and sat on a wide range of parliamentary committees. He has publically opposed tax evasion and has co-authored a memo on protecting the Dutch flora and fauna.

Fatima Moreira de Melo
Fatima Moreira de Melo

Founder, Fatima Performance BV and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Fatima Moreira de Melo

Fatima is a professional field hockey player. She has played for the Dutch national team in international tournaments and for several teams such as Tempo ’34, HGC and HC Rotterdam in Dutch national competitions. She was a member of the Dutch national team that won the 2006 Women’s Hockey World Cup and the 2007 Hockey Champions Trophy. After a bronze medal in Sydney in 2000 and a silver medal in Athens in 2004, Fatima won a gold medal at the 2008 Games in Beijing. In 2006, she was named Rotterdam Sportswoman of the Year. In addition to field hockey, she presented TV programmes on local and national networks.

Talitha Muusse
Talitha Muusse

Chief Impact Officer at Blikverruimers, Founder of Energieboot and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Talitha Muusse

A Dutch businesswoman and entrepreneur passionate about sustainability and innovation, Talitha is involved with a number of social initiatives. She launched Blikverruimers, a training programme and recruitment selection agency for young professionals in the Netherlands, who aspire to become business leaders. She is also the driving force behind Energieboot, a leadership programme for young professionals developing sustainable energy projects. As one of the faces of the Coalition-Y movement, a partnership of youth, trade union and climate organisations, Talitha promotes youth participation in society. She also regularly appears on talk shows and previously hosted the current affairs TV programme, Op1. She started her career at MVO Nederland, an organisation which guides companies in corporate social responsibility, where she became the youngest member to sit on a supervisory board in the Netherlands nearly a decade ago. Talitha is also Member of the Advisory Board at the research institute TNO.

Daan Roosegaarde
Daan Roosegaarde

Innovator and Founder, Studio Roosegaarde and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Daan Roosegaarde

Daan is a Dutch artist and innovator; he’s a creative thinker who explores the relations between people, technology and space through social designs. Having been inspired by natural phenomena like light-emitting fireflies and jellyfish from an early age, Daan’s long-standing fascination with nature and technology is reflected in designs that include his Smart Highway project (roads which charge from sunlight and glow at night) and Waterlicht (a virtual flood). His Smog Free Project has seen the creation of the largest outdoor air purifier in the world, transforming smog into jewellery, and the Smog Free Bike which cleans the surrounding air with every pedal. In 2007, he founded Studio Roosegaarde, a internationally renowned social design lab where he works with his team of designers and engineers to craft a better future. Together, they develop ‘Landscapes of the Future’ by building smart sustainable prototypes for the cities of tomorrow.

Photo of Liesje Schreinemacher
Liesje Schreinemacher

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Liesje Schreinemacher

Liesje Schreinemacher is the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the Netherlands. She supports development cooperation to assist regions that face poverty, climate change, terrorism and migration challenges. Notably, Schreinemacher has fostered a new partnership with UNICEF to ease the food and nutrition crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa. She currently represents the Netherlands at several regional development banks and international financial institutions, including the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee. While serving as a member of the European Parliament, she was the vice-president of the LGBTI Intergroup and supported the proposal for common charging ports as a shadow rapporteur. A lawyer who specialises in construction and contract law, she has also served as an advisor at the Dutch Ministry of Defence and worked as an assistant to two members of the Dutch parliament.

Photo of Hanke Bruins Slot
Hanke Bruins Slot

Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Hanke Bruins Slot

Hanke is currently serving as the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in the Dutch government. She is a former military officer, former vice-governor at the Province of Utrecht. As a member of the Dutch parliament, Hanke served as the Christian Democratic Appeal party’s spokesperson on health and defence issues, while also focusing on local government, medical law, psychiatry and sports. Prior to her career in politics, Hanke attended the Dutch Royal Military Academy (KMA), where she undertook officer training and specialised as an artillery commander. She went on to serve in Afghanistan as a tank platoon commander, where she was promoted to acting field officer, assisting the Director of Operations of the Land Forces Command Staff. She has also worked in the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations as a senior policy officer and is avid hockey player, who won the Rabobank Premier Division national indoor hockey championship in 2005.

Farid Tabarki
Farid Tabarki

Founder and Director of Studio Zeitgeist and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Farid Tabarki

Farid is a researcher, writer, presenter and entrepreneur. At Studio Zeitgeist, Farid coordinates research and develops projects at the local, national and European levels on topics such as radical decentralisation, racial transparency and the liquid society. Fabrid is also a weekly columnist for Het Financieele Dagblad, a Dutch daily newspaper focusing on finance and economy, and the author of “The End of the Middle – What society of extremes means to people, businesses and government”. He is the former editor in chief and presenter at Coolpolitics, an organisation which encourages younger generations to share their roles as citizens. He has presented the parliamentary election edition of MTV Coolpolitics and the television program Dare to Think, from Socrates to Sartre. Farid is a member of the supervisory board of Stadgenoot, Prince Bernhard Culture Fund and International Theatre Amsterdam. He is also a member of the Netherlands Architect Institute and the Foundation for Democracy and Media.

Kirsten van den Hul
Kirsten van den Hul

Director of DutchCulture, former member of the Dutch Parliament, writer and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Kirsten van den Hul

Kirsten van den Hul is director of DutchCulture, the Dutch network and knowledge organisation for international cultural cooperation. Before assuming her current position, she worked as an independent consultant through her own company, The Change Agent, on different transition projects, mainly in the public sector. Previously, van den Hul served as member of parliament for the Dutch Labour Party, where she focused on culture, education, gender equality, foreign trade and development. An Eastern Europe specialist, she was also active on the crossroads between culture, human rights and international cooperation and worked for several international NGOs, including international women’s fund Mama Cash and the European Cultural Foundation.  Van den Hul was also a columnist for newspapers and magazines, contributed to a number of publications and wrote a book, “(S)hevolution”. In addition, she notably held the role of Dutch UN Women’s Representative.

Continue to Events


view more events
Continue to Insights


view more insights
Continue to Selection process

Selection process


The European Young Leaders (EYL40) 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 1985).
  • Candidates must be a national of an EU member state, the UK, Ukraine, Moldova or 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, usually scheduled for March and September.

Please click HERE for the Selection Guidelines 2025 that will give you an idea of the process and will provide you with a link to the nomination/application form.

Should you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at eyl40@friendsofeurope.org.

We look forward to receiving your applications and nominations.

* References to Kosovo here are used without prejudice to positions on status and are in line with UN Security Council resolution 1244/99 and the International Court of Justice Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

Continue to Partners


view more
Track title


Stop playback
Video title


Africa initiative logo