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 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
The programme was initially conceived with EuropaNova, a Paris-based think-tank.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Diane has more than 15 years of international experience 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 Africa and the Middle East supporting cities and industries in the circular economy to preserve, optimise and secure the resources essential to our future. Diane is also the founder of the NGO Action Emploi Réfugiés, which aims to facilitate refugees’ access to jobs, and advises French President Emmanuel Macron as Member of the Presidential Council on Africa. In 2014, she was listed by the French newspaper Les Echos as part of the “French touch”, the 100 personalities promoting France abroad.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Who are we looking for?
We’re looking for a new generation of change-makers – a new class of European Young Leaders who will carry the baton forward and help lead Europe into a better, brighter future. Do you know anyone who fits the bill?
The candidates should be European citizens between 30 and 40 years of age (born in 1979 or afterwards); with a proven track record as established opinion leaders in their fields of activity, including, but not limited to: politics, science, business, media, the arts, and civil society. We look for candidates who are creative, committed and passionate about reshaping the world and we are particularly interested in those who have not only demonstrated a strong engagement with Europe, but who are also on track to reach the highest ranks of their field of expertise. Past candidates include: government ministers, CEOs, Michelin-starred chefs, international film directors, and high profile journalists.
Every year we are amazed at how incredible each new class is. Help us make the 2019 class of European Young Leaders one for the record.
Current and previous European Young Leaders include
Jesse Klaver, Leader of the Dutch Green party “GroenLinks”
Eleni Antoniadou, Co-Founder of Transplants without Donors
Adil El Arbi, Film Director and Screenwriter
Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome
Eneko Atxa, Chef at three-Michelin-starred restaurant Azurmendi
Kaja Kallas, Member of the European Parliament
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society
Bastian Obermayer, Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist
John Collison, President & Co-Founder of Stripe
Selina Juul, Founder and Chairman of the Stop Wasting Food movement
Brune Poirson, Secretary of State to the French Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition
Janis Jonevs, Author and winner of the European prize for literature
Humza Yousaf, Scottish Minister for Transport and Islands
Guillem Anglada-Escudé, Astrophysicist and discoverer of the Proxima b exoplanet
Dionysis Grammenos, Award-winning conductor and clarinetist
Jens Spahn, Minister for Health, National Parliament of Germany (Bundestag)
Frédéric Mazzella, CEO and Founder of BlablaCar
Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke, Founder & President of Women’s Worldwide Web
Carole Dieschbourg, Minister for the Environment, National Parliament of Luxembourg
For personal applications:
Please send your CV (including date of birth and full contact details), together with a cover letter explaining why you believe that you should be considered for the EYL40 programme.
Please send the full name, date of birth and full contact details of the candidate that you wish to nominate, together with a short biography of their professional background and achievements, and a letter explaining why you believe that they are a suitable candidate for the programme.
The 2019 nomination process is now officially closed.
Thank you to all those who nominated candidates or submitted an application for the Class of 2019.
Kindly note that only successful applicants will be contacted.
About the EYL40 Programme
The European Young Leaders programme is a unique, multi-stakeholder programme, which aims to promote a sense of European identity by bringing together 40 of the most promising European leaders and engaging them in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future. The relaxed tone, and out-of-the-box nature of the programme have led to salient and open discussions and created a strong leadership network of committed Europeans.
The programme was initially conceived with EuropaNova, a Paris-based think-tank.
With the support of