Ana is microbiologist and currently works in the field of therapeutic antibody and immunotherapy at MabDesign. Prior to her current role, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut Pasteur and a visiting scientist at Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics. While completing her PhD in microbiology, Ana was awarded the Marie Cure Fellowship and the PhD Fellowship by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). Additionally, she has received various grants and nominations over the course of her academic career. Ana has lectured in vaccinology and pharmaceutical clinical development, been published in peer-reviewed journals and spoken at numerous international conferences. Ana is the Co-Founder and President the Association des Diplômés Portugais en France (AGRAFr), which brings together Portuguese expats and French nationals. She is also a member of Native Scientists, a non-profit organisation that connects children with science in their native languages, and Conto-Contigo, which provides Portuguese reading sessions for children.
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
Victor is an entrepreneur and investor. He is the Managing Director of One United Properties, the leading green property developer focusing on exclusive residential compounds in Bucharest. He has also been the founder of Capital Partners, which was the leading independent investment banking company in Romania until it was acquired by Banca Transilvania and turned into BT Capital Partners. He has also acted as Board Director at SIF Oltenia SA, an investment company listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange with a net asset value of €350 million. Victor has been the recipient of various awards including Acquisition International’s M&A Award in 2013, Ziarul Financiar’s Excellence Award in 2011 and Business Review’s 2009 Financial Adviser of the Year Award.
Currently leading Netflix’s patner marketing efforts in Southern Europe, Stefania rich carrier has considerable changed since starting out as a PR specialist in 2000. After joining Microsoft in 2002 as a Marketing Communications Specialist and later becoming a Senior Account Executive at Planners International Group, before returning to Microsoft to head the sales division of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment products in Italy. Throughout her time at Microsoft, Stefania won 7 different awards for diligence as well as for the many impressive marketing campaigns that she has run.
Lukasz is the CEO and Founding Partner of Montis Capital Fund. There, Lukasz oversees the formulation of financial and operational strategies. Previously, he was head of the Marguerite Fund office for the Central and Eastern Europe and member of the management board for the Marguerite Fund 2020 for Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure in Luxembourg. He is also on the supervisory board of Pomeranka Development, InvestGas and Energa Operator in Poland, and of PZU Ukraine Insurance Company and Kredobank, also in Ukraine. Lukasz began his career as an adviser in the European Parliament, focusing on energy policy and security as well as EU relations with Russia and Ukraine.
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.
Oisin became an entrepreneur at the age of 18, when he set up the Clearwater Group, a real estate development company in Budapest while a student at Trinity College, Dublin. Oisin founded Handybook in May 2012 with Umang Dua to address the difficulty of finding a reliable handyman that Oisin experienced in Budapest. Oisin also established MiCandidate, which became the leading source for online election information across Europe in 2009, and set up the Undergraduate Awards, which has become the world’s largest pan-discipline awards programme. Supported by Google, Microsoft and others, it is a global annual awards event hosted in Dublin with the award distributed each year by the President of Ireland. In 2019 Oisin became Chief Product Officer for ANGI Homeservices which operates HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and other brands.
Frédéric is the Founder and President of BlaBlaCar, the leading European ridesharing community that connects drivers with empty seats and people travelling in the same direction, with the aim of making road travel social, cost effective and sustainable. The carpooling platform became the first French unicorn and has grown into a global community, with over 20 million members in 22 countries. Frédéric also currently serves as the Co-President Entrepreneur of France Digitale, the largest start-up association in Europe, where is work largely focuses on talent, impact and European tech sovereignty. Prior to founding BlaBlaCar, Frédéric was a scientific research at the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) in Japan. Frédéric is a regular speaker at international conferences and in the media, including CNN, Bloomberg and CNBC, on the themes of sustainable development, entrepreneurship, global marketplaces and building trust in online communities. He is also an accomplished classical pianist.
Since 2009 Giovanna has been the Brussels Bureau Chief Correspondent for Belgium, France and Germany at SKY TG24, where she was previously a reporter and special correspondent covering the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her work has covered interviews with the US President Obama, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, and French President François Hollande. She has obtained two Master’s degrees, the first in Political Science and International Relations at the Sapienza University of Rome, and the second in European Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges. She has authored numerous academic publications on Italian and international politics.
Shazia founded Ieat Foods, the first British ready meals brand offering halal dishes that are prepared in accordance with Islamic law. Her business aims to give Muslims in the UK more choice about their food and is already seeing great success; Ieat products can now be found in over 300 of UK’s leading supermarket locations. Shazia previously worked as a Business Development Manager for entrepreneur and businessman Peter Jones.
Ivan has extensive experience in technology, media and the Internet as a serial entrepreneur and angel investor in the Slovakian venture capital industry. Ivan co-founded Progresívne Slovensko (Progressive Slovakia), a social-liberal and pro-European political movement, becoming the party’s first chairman and currently serving as Vice Chairman. Prior to this, Ivan co-founded Neulogy Ventures, a management company which invests public and private funds in early stage tech companies, and Neulogy, a Bratislava-based consultancy boutique specialising in R&D management, technology commercialisation and start-up consultation. He has also been at the helm of a number of start-up companies with global or regional reach, including Diagnose.me, Pelicantravel.com, Piano Media and GA Drilling.
Before her current appointment, Sonja worked at the Vienna Insurance Group AG amongst others as their regional director in Styria after having joined the private sector in 2016. Prior to this, she served as Austria’s State Secretary for Public Administration as well as State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance. Sonja has also been Deputy Chairwoman of the SPÖ Regional Party Committee in south-east Styria, Member of the Women’s Federal Executive Committee of the SPÖ and Chairwoman of Volkshilfe social services in Feldbach. In addition to this, she has been Chairwoman of the Nomination Committee of the Austrian State and Industrial Holding Ltd (ÖBIB). Sonja was first elected as a Member of Parliament in 2009, and concurrently taught business law at the KMU-Academy & Management in Linz.
Kamilla is a bridge-builder and a solopreneur based in Helsinki. She has had a successful sales career in Scandinavian shipping companies including Maersk Line, where she was in charge of a global sales strategy execution in more than 20 markets spanning Eastern Europe, Nordics and Middle East. A gifted adviser and passionate advocate, Kamilla has done over 10 years’ worth of activist work in influencing debates, policies and practices in the field of gender equality, inclusion, empowerment and cross-cultural dialogue in the Nordics and the EU.
PeoplePerHour.com is the UK’s largest freelance marketplace for digital work. As Founder and CEO, Xenios is in charge of the overall operation of the company as well as its latest innovation, SuperTasker.com, which outsources small tasks efficiently to a pool of curated experts. With offices in Europe and the United States, the company is truly making a dent in one of the world’s fastest growing markets. Xenios has been interviewed by and featured in a number of magazines and newspapers including The Financial Times, Business Insider and Bloomberg. An avid blogger, he is a regular contributor to such media outlets as the Huffington Post, Forbes and Wired Magazine. He is also a professional painter and obtained undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Cambridge.
After working in various jobs including as a camera assistant, electrician and assistant director in film and television, Andi joined the film production company Network Movie in 2002 as a producer. Projects then included the first series of the international co-production “The Team” for which Andi was Creative Producer, several series of the crime drama, “Soko Köln” (PD Cologne), several TV-movies including an adaptation of Frank Schätzing’s bestseller, “Die Dunkle Seite” (The Dark Side). While fulfilling these responsibilities, he studied directing at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne and wrote and directed several short films and commercials.
Eberhart is an engineer specialising in energy generation for heating, power and vehicle fuel from both conventional and sustainable sources. He also has expert knowledge of the feasibility of the development and practical application of energy generation based on local conditions. Born in Mexico and educated in Germany, Eberhart has a vital understanding of industrialised and developing countries alike. He has been responsible for national renewable gas projects in Germany, and for the mechanical design and commissioning of gas processing plants in developing countries. He has a strong understanding of the global energy market, current obstacles and future perspectives, with experience of various multi-million euro investment contract negotiations around the world.
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