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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 programme was initially conceived with EuropaNova, a Paris-based think-tank.

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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

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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

Chief Data Scientist, Orionis Biosciences, 2019 European Young Leader

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Riccardo is a renowned Italian scientist and entrepreneur specialised in numerical modelling of complex system, ranging from material science, financial markets, computational genomics and drug design. In 2015 Riccardo and his lab presented an algorithm to predict common traits such as height, eye color, skin color, and even facial structure based on reading a person’s genome via a tiny blood sample. His related TED talk generated a buzz in the scientific and tech communities. Today he’s working on how to solve drug design at genomic scale with his company, Orionis Biosciences. In addition, Riccardo is deeply involved in the education of entrepreneurs. He is the founder and co-director of 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

Join the 2020 class of European Young Leaders

Under the patronage of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, 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.

For examples of current and previous European Young Leaders, please refer to Annex I.

Overview of the selection process

Since the launch of the programme in 2012, 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 can either apply or be nominated for the selection process of the programme.

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