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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.


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

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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

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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

Beatrice Leanza
Beatrice Leanza

Cultural strategist and Co-Founder of B/Side Design, 2018 European Young Leader

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Based in Beijing since 2002, Beatrice is a cultural strategist and writer with a background in Asian studies and fifteen-year experience in developing programmes of urban and social impact. She served as creative director of Beijing Design Week (2012 – 2016), China’s largest and internationally best reputed design and architecture event, and was creative director of the urban regeneration plan for Baitasi historic district in Beijing (2015-2016), shaping stakeholders’ relations across the governmental, private and public sectors. In 2017 she co-founded B/Side Design an inclusive organisation currently establishing The Global School, the first independent institute for design and multidisciplinary research in the PRC. She is an advisory board member of Design Trust (Hong Kong) and an advocate of practical creativity for educational empowerment in sustainable futures.

Lia Quartapelle
Lia Quartapelle

Democratic Party Leader, 2018 European Young Leader

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As a Democratic Party Leader in the Italian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, Lia has been one of the rising stars of Italian politics. In her work, Lia focuses on human rights, developing economies and Africa, and has worked for the Mozambique Government as an economist and policy development analyst. Lia is President of the Italian Chapter of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA), the Italian section of the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) and of the Italian section of the Women in International Security network (WIIS). In 2016 she promoted the creation of the Young European Legislator Network to create a united front on young people’s policies in Europe.

Antonio Zappulla
Antonio Zappulla

CEO, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 2018 European Young Leader

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Currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Antonio oversees the philanthropic arm of Thomson Reuters, leading on communications, monitoring and evaluation activities as well as the development functions of the organisation. Prior to his present role, Antonio worked as the Executive Producer at Bloomberg Television where he was in charge of news, factual programmes and documentaries for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He is also a member of the Pioneers Class at Stanford Graduate School of Business for the LEAD Program in Corporate Innovation.

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Selection process

The EYL40 programme is a unique, multi-stakeholder programme which aims to promote a sense of European identity by bringing together forty of the brightest European leaders every year and engaging them in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future. 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. Additionally, in 2020, the programme will include 6 Young Leaders from the Western Balkan region. In doing so, we aim to promote structural dialogue across the continent that will foster better mutual understanding.

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. Candidates can either apply or be nominated for the selection process of the programme.

Selection criteria:

  •  Candidates must be between 30 and 40 years of age;
  • Candidates must be a national of an EU member state or of one of the 6 Balkan states currently on the path towards EU integration (Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro);
  • Candidates should have established themselves 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.

The deadline for nominations and applications for the 2020 European Young Leaders class has passed. We are currently reviewing the candidates and aim to announce the 2020 class before the end of 2019. We will open the application and nomination period for the class of 2021 in the spring of 2020.

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