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.
Victor is an entrepreneur and investor. He is the founder of Capital Partners, the leading independent investment banking company in Romania, which he continues to co-own with three other bankers. Victor is also the Managing Director of One United Properties, a property developer that focuses on exclusive residential compounds in Bucharest. Since May 2014, he has been a 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.
Francesca is an 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.
Jasmina works across a range of media including photography, performance, installation and video. Most often characterised as a visual artist, her artwork is focused on the positioning and analysing of space vis-à-vis other societal categories. She is the author of numerous exhibitions which have been shown all over Europe, as well as the recipient of prestigious Slovenian, European and international awards, including the Bevilacqua la Masa (Venice 2002 and 2005), the Slovenian Trend Award for Outstanding Achievements in Visual Art (2011), and the Catlin Commission Award (London, 2011). She represented Slovenia at the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
Radoslaw is a neuroscientist, leading the research group “Neural Dynamics of Visual Cognition” at the Free University Berlin. His main interest is human visual cognition – that is, the way the brain represents visual objects. Radoslaw has received numerous awards and grants from private and public funders for his ground-breaking research including from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and, most recently, from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In addition to teaching and lecturing at various universities worldwide, he is also a regular on the conference trail in the US and Europe.
Ciara is a chartered physiotherapist and experienced researcher passionately dedicated to improving the management and treatment of people with neurological conditions. At the age of 22, she launched Beats Medical, a medical application available on smartphones, which aims to help people with Parkinson’s disease take control of their condition through technology. Ciara received the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists Anne O’Brien Prize for Clinical Excellence and the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award.
Viktorija serves as a Member of the Lithuanian Parliament for Liberalai. Given the fact that she started her career as a professional chess player, her entry into politics came about relatively recently. She was the European Women's Champion in 2011 and is a two-time Lithuanian Champion. Her decision to undergo a career change followed her realisation that she wanted to contribute to society on a more political level. She succeeded in being elected to the parliament in 2015 and became Chair of the liberal fraction in 2018. In the parliament, Viktorija is a Member of the Committee on Human Rights and the Committee on European Affairs.
John is an entrepreneur and Co-Founder and President of Stripe, a software company that is expanding Internet commerce by making it easier to process transactions from anywhere in the world. Founded in 2010 alongside his brother, Stripe has rapidly expanded and continues to grow, its current team having over 900 employees. Before Stripe, he co-founded Auctomatic, which was sold in 2008, paving the way to his success as one of the world’s most successful teenage entrepreneurs. John has been passionate about coding since childhood and has a proven track-record of applying his knowledge and skills to develop ways to improve online business processes.
Silvia is a young economist and entrepreneur specialising in game theory and interest groups. She has extensive experience as a strategist in auction design. In 2008, she co-founded Auctionomics, a high-stakes auction consulting and software firm with clients ranging from governments to Fortune 500 companies. Silvia has acted as project manager on several high-stakes auctions in Australia, Canada, and the United States, in many European countries, and in Africa and Latin America. She is also the co-founder of xSwan, an interactive version of eBay that allows charities to raise more money via online auctions. Silvia frequently speaks at major universities both in the United States (including Berkeley and Harvard) and around the world.
Manuel headed until very recently the directorate in charge of implementing infrastructure projects and stimulating foreign investment and public-private partnerships in Romania. Before joining the government, he worked as an executive director at J.P. Morgan, a multinational banking and financial services holding company, where he was responsible for the relationship with various public sector clients in Europe, including central banks, debt management offices, development banks and government agencies. Manuel also worked as an independent consultant on business and development projects in Australia, South Africa, Tanzania and Peru, as well as at the Brattle Group, where he was a research analyst with a focus on risk management and strategies in the energy sector.
Xavier is an engineer in computer science who is passionate about the digital renaissance. In 1999, while still at secondary school, he founded Tribal, a site that gathered student content from around Belgium for publication in a magazine that was distributed to 30,000 students nationwide. Ten years later, he co-founded Storify, a social media curation platform that enables users to create stories or timelines using content from social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Storify is now used by top brands, organisations and publishers around the world, including CNN, the New York Times, the United Nations and the White House. More recently, he co-founded OpenCollective, a company that enables groups to collect and spend money transparently without having to create a new bank account.
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