European Young Leaders

Introduction

What do a microbiologist, an entrepreneur, a journalist and a Member of Parliament have in common?

They are all European Young Leaders who are engaged in making Europe a global champion for a better world.

The European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme, organised by Friends of Europe, is a unique, inventive and multi-stakeholder programme that aims to promote a European identity by engaging the continent’s most promising talents and initiatives.

The programme is supported by renowned and solid foundations such as the Fondazione Cariplo and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation.

The European Young Leaders represent promising European leadership from all over the continent, with a wide variety of backgrounds including politics, business, civil society, academia, arts, science and the media.

Every year, they meet for two three-day seminars in symbolic European cities, joined by decision-makers, stakeholders and key European actors to discuss issues of common concern and develop concrete proposals and recommendations to tackle the challenges facing Europe and its citizens.

The European Young Leaders now represent a network of more than 180 alumni.

Meet the Class of 2019

Stay tuned for more information on the programme and the activities of the new class and the alumni ‒ follow EYL40 on Twitter and Facebook.


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

Meet the European Young Leaders
France
Julien Berjeaut
Cartoonist and comic book author

Julien, known by his pseudonym Jul, is a French cartoonist and comic book author. He won third prize in the youth competition at the Angoulême comic book festival at the age of 12. He began his working life as a Professor of Chinese history, but then devoted himself entirely to comics. He has published cartoons in numerous newspapers and magazines including Les Échos, La Dépêche du Midi, Nouvel Observateur, and L’Humanité. His comic book series Silex and the City was adapted into a TV animation series and aired as of September 2012 on the franco-german channel Arte. He was appointed by the French government to the rank of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in September 2012.

Greece
Danae Bezantakou
Managing Director, Navigator Shipping LTD

Danae is the Managing director of Navigator Shipping Consultants LTD. One of her important achievements is the organisation of the Navigator Conference since 2001 which is considered to be one of the biggest shipping events gathering the decision makers of the shipping community and speakers from all over the world on an annual basis. Through her participation in lectures and seminars, Danae has travelled the world to promote and strengthen women’s entrepreneurship. Her latest venture includes the foundation of Greek Food Obsessions, a gourmet culinary company providing the Greek and international food market with high quality Greek gourmet products from all over Greece. Danae holds a Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Surrey.

Italy
Selene Biffi
Founder, Plain Ink

Selene is the founder of several social ventures, including Plain Ink – free, educational comics created for children and communities in developing countries – and Youth Action for Change (YAC), high-quality, free, online courses for young change-makers in 130 countries. She has been a consultant, trainer and speaker for many organisations including the UN, Amnesty International, the World Bank, Oxfam, OSCE, the Council of Europe, Columbia University and Microsoft. She is now part of the Italian Economic Development Minister’s Taskforce on Innovative Startups. Selene is a member of RENA, an Italian association of young professionals promoting innovation, merit, youth empowerment and a new generation of local public policies. She holds a NOHA Master's in International Humanitarian Action from UCD (Ireland) and diplomas from Harvard University and INSEAD Business School.

Germany
Steffen Bilger
Chairman, North Württemberg district branch of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)

Steffen has been a Member of the Bundestag since 2009 and Chairman of the North Württemberg district branch of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) political party since 2011. Steffen joined the CDU and the Young Union (youth section of the CDU/CSU) in 1996 and was elected Chairman of the Baden-Württemberg Land branch of the Pupils’ Union. At the Parliament he is a Member of the Committee on Transport, Building and Urban Development, the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development and runs a study commission on growth, well-being and quality of life. He has also worked for the energy service company MVV Energiedienstleistungen GmbH in 2006. He holds a degree in law from Tübingen University.

France
Diane Binder
Vice-President for International Development, Africa and Near East at Suez Group and European Young Leader (EYL40)

Diane Binder has accumulated more than 15 years of international experience working in global corporations, consulting, government, international organisations and NGOs. As current Vice-President at Suez, a global leader in the water and waste sector, she leads their activities in supporting cities and industries in the circular economy. Binder is also the founder of the NGO Action Emploi Réfugiés, which aims to facilitate refugees’ access to jobs. As Member of the Presidential Council on Africa, she advises French President Emmanuel Macron on relevant matters. She also serves on the Advisory Board of Women in Africa. Binder is a 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40).

Tunisia
Chaima Bouhlel
President Al Bawsala - MENA Delegate

Chaima Bouhlel serves as the President of Al-Bawsala, a non-profit Tunisian NGO operating to bring transparency to political processes and engage ordinary citizens in a region wracked by government crackdowns. Chaima joined Al-Bawsala in 2014 to start and lead “Marsad Baladia” project, an observatory that monitors all municipalities across the country, and was elected as president in October 2016. Since 2016, she has also been co-hosting a weekly radio show on the National Radio discussing public policy and public institutions’ performance. Prior to joining the Al-Bawsala, Chaima worked in the micro finance sector, and in building the capacity of journalists in post-revolutionary Tunisia. During her studies at Harvard University, she was president of the Society of Arab Students, and co-organized the Harvard Arab Weekend in 2011, the biggest pan-Arab conference in North America.

Egypt
Yostina Boules
Founder and Managing Director, Taqa Solutions

Yostina, dubbed “the magic machine” by farm owners, is Founder and Managing Director of Taqa Solutions, an Egyptian based organisation aiming to provide a clean and independent energy source to farmers by producing energy from poultry waste. By doing this, the Taqa solutions simultaneously addresses the problem of waste management from one of Egypt’s main agricultural industries, while maximising clean energy production. Yostina was selected as a Pioneer of Egypt after becoming a finalist on El Mashrou3, an entrepreneurship reality television competition.

Germany
Franziska Brantner
Member of the German Bundestag, Parliamentary Whip, Spokeswoman on European Policy

Franziska is a member of the Deutsche Bundestag for the constituency of Heidelberg. She is also the spokeswoman on European Policy for the parliamentary group of Bündnis ’90/The Greens. In addition to these roles she holds the chair of the Subcommittee on Civil Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Networked Action and is part of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Affairs of the European Union. Before her national role she was a member of the European Parliament. She is a trustee of Friends of Europe.

Denmark
Kirsten Brosbøl
Member of Parliament, Denmark

Kirsten has represented the Social Democrats in the Danish Parliament since 2005. She was a rapporteur on research and higher education as well as on gender equality and food. She was appointed as Denmark’s Minister of the Environment in 2014, in the government of Helle Thorning-Schmidt. In that position, she facilitated the development of sustainable solutions and contributed to the development of industrial growth and workplaces in Denmark. In the 2015 general election, she was re-elected to the Danish Parliament. Kirsten is the co-founder of the Bilateral Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. The network operates across party lines in the Danish Parliament to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights at a national and international level.

Netherlands
Hanke Bruins Slot
Member National Parliament of the Netherlands

Hanke is a Dutch politician, former military officer and hockey player. Immediately after graduating from university, Hanke joined the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations as a Senior Policy Officer. She remained in this position for four years before attending the Dutch Royal Military Academy (KMA) where she undertook officer training, and specialised as an artillery commander. Assigned as a Tank Platoon Commander in 2007, Hanke served in Afghanistan and by 2009 was Acting Field Officer assisting the Director of Operations, Land Forces Commando Staff. In 2010, Hanke was elected to the Dutch House of Representatives where she currently serves as party spokesperson on health and defence issues for the Christian Democratic Appeal party, and also focuses on local government, medical law, psychiatry and sports. Hanke is a keen hockey player and was on the team that won the Rabobank Premier Division national indoor hockey championship in 2005.

Seminars
No results at the moment.
Selection process

EUROPEAN YOUNG LEADERS (EYL40) PROGRAMME

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.


1. NOMINATION GUIDELINES

Individuals can be nominated to the European Young Leaders programme by several means.

  • Institutional partners

A wide network of European organisations is called upon to recommend high-potential individuals to Friends of Europe.

  • Pre-selection by Friends of Europe’s Board of Trustees and other outstanding personalities

Our Board of Trustees and a limited selection of outstanding personalities from different sectors (business, politics, media, science and the arts) are asked to nominate young leaders that could be considered in the selection process. 

For a list of Friends of Europe’s Board of Trustees, please click here.

  • Alumni

Every year, the alumni network of the European Young Leaders programme is called upon to send in recommendations to Friends of Europe. Given their experience of the programme, we consider the alumni extremely knowledgeable about who is the best fit for such a leadership programme.


2. APPLICATION GUIDELINES
Candidates should send a biography (including their date of birth and full contact details), a recent high-resolution photo and a cover letter outlining the relevant achievements and experiences that make them a viable candidate, also highlighting the means by which they hope to contribute to the European Young Leaders network and the development of the programme.


SELECTION CRITERIA

  • Candidates must be between 30 and 40 years of age (born on or after 1 January 1979);
  • 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.


TIMELINE
To be considered for the 2020 selection process, all applications and nominations must be sent to: eyl40@friendsofeurope.org
Application deadline: Monday, 3 June 2019


AGENDA

Spring 2020 3-day seminar in a European city
Autumn 2020 3-day seminar in a European city
Ongoing European Young Leaders are involved in (virtual) working groups throughout the year, allowing their input from afar into the topics and projects of their choice based on their availability and interest.
October 2020 Exclusive invitation to the President’s Gala Dinner and Friends of Europe’s annual State of Europe ‘high-level’ roundtable, which are attended by several Heads of State and Government, and a few hundred other personalities from across Europe and beyond.
October 2020 Participation in the European Young Leaders alumni meeting in Brussels, open to all current and previous European Young Leaders.
Partners

With the support of

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