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.
Ignacio is a journalist, political analyst and Founder and Director of www.eldiario.es, an online media political analysis site. Previously Ignacio founded and managed the well-known newspaper Publico. He also manages www.escolar.net, the most popular and widely read political blog in Spain, which was named best political and journalist blog of the year in 2008 and 2009. Ignacio is also the founder of Bitban, a technology and design consulting company for Internet media communication, working with clients all over the world. In 2009 he was awarded the José Manuel Porquet Journalism Prize, the Mujeres Progresistas Prize for declining to publish prostitution ads in Publico and the Nicolas Salmeron for Human Rights Prize.
Adriano is the CEO and Co-founder of Watchup, a Silicon Valley-based start-up that brings the power of video journalism to the post-PC era with an Apple app that lets you build your daily newscast out of the world's most trusted news channels. He is a former EiR at StartX, the Stanford student start-up accelerator. Previously, he co-founded and ran from 2001 to 2009 Cafebabel.com, a pan-European online media outlet entirely translated in 6 languages that has thousands of contributors. In 2007, he was selected as a young leader in the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Adriano is a Political Science and International Relations graduate from LUISS University in Rome.
Aaron was elected to the Maltese Parliament in June of 2017, and appointed Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue within the Ministry for European Affairs. Before his current position, Aaron ran the Malta Freeport, the first transhipment hub in the Mediterranean. He served as president of the Labour Youth Forum and was elected deputy mayor of Ta’ Xbiex in 2005. During the international financial crisis, he was appointed to a team of economic experts set up by the Young European Socialists and was elected as Education Secretary in the Maltese Labour Party’s Central Administration. Aaron also chaired the progressive think tank IDEAT, the party’s political foundation. In 2014, he founded the Anton Buttigieg Foundation, which seeks to promote social awareness in Malta, focusing on education as the primary tool for economic and social development.
Alexandre, known under the tag name ‘Vhils’, is a Portuguese street artist, best known for his urban murals, his use of urban settings – walls, doors, debris – as ‘canvasses’ or materials for his art, as well as the destructive processes by which he constructs art. Alexandre studied in London, and gained prominence when his work was showcased at the Cans Festival in London. As well as technically and visually innovative, Alexandre’s art has a social function as it attempts to cast a spotlight on situations of social injustice, and to create a dialogue around these. His work has since continued to gain recognition, with his work appearing in cities worldwide and he has been featured alongside street artists of the likes of Banksy.
As EIT Health’s Director of Innovation, Jorge plays a vital role in shaping the wide range of innovation projects developed and supported by the organisation. Previously, Jorge was Director of E-Health within the Innovation Department at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona – a key example of a European healthcare provider using online care, telemedicine, mobile apps and health 2.0 tools to put the patient at the centre of care – and Director of Moebio, which develops healthcare entrepreneurs and future leaders. Jorge has more than 18 years of experience, with the last eight years fully dedicated to innovation, technology and entrepreneurship at the intersection of business, government, and academia. He regularly acts as advisor and mentor to healthcare start-ups and entrepreneurial acceleration programs, helping to create a stronger ecosystem in the biomedical and healthcare industries.
Mary is a journalist and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has worked on Libya since 2011 and lived there throughout 2014. Her work has appeared in publications including the Economist, Foreign Policy, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Financial Times and the Guardian. She has conducted research on Libya for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMED) among others. She is a contributing author to an edited volume on the Libyan revolution published by Oxford University Press. In her previous role as Irish Times foreign affairs correspondent, she reported from 40 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. She is a member of the Global Women's Forum 'Rising Talents' network.
Cristina is a software engineer and tech entrepreneur, who co-founded one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing companies, Talkdesk, a platform that allows anyone to quickly create a call centre online. Previously, Cristina has worked as a researcher at INESC-ID, a Portuguese non-profit institution conducting advanced research in electronics, energy, telecommunications and information technologies. Cristina is passionate about Artificial Intelligence and the impact of technology, and advises early-stage start-ups.
Clémentine is a journalist who has gone from freelance reporting on the radio and in magazines to later becoming Chief Editor at EurActiv, France. She is now Chief Editor of Contexte, an online newspaper that focuses on French and European public policy which she co-founded in 2013. She is also Vice-President of Europresse, the association of French journalists who cover European affairs, and AJDE, an association for journalists who specifically report on energy issues. Educated in Paris and Brussels, Clémentine is a published author and was previously in charge of opening the Brussels office of the Robert Schuman Foundation.
Nicola is the Local Authorities and Parliamentarian Affairs Councillor for the Governor of Campania and the Deputy Head of Training for the national People of Freedom party (PDL). He is also CEO of the Buongoverno Foundation and of "Italianiinmente", a business accelerator and incubator for Italian start-ups. He was until recently a Member of the Italian Parliament’s EU Policy Committee and Head of the PDL party. Nicola started his career in the media sector as a TV station journalist for which he became Director in 1999. After working as a Parliamentary assistant, Nicola decided to run for the 2008 state legislative elections in the Campania region and was elected Deputy. Nicola holds a degree in Political Science from the Luiss Guido Carli University of Rome and a Master’s in Legislative Studies from the Istituto per la Documentazione e gli Studi Legislativi (ISLE) in Rome.
Myriam is an academic, broadcaster and writer specialising in issues related to Islam and the Middle East. She is a regular contributor to the Middle East Eye, the New Statesman and the Telegraph. In 2014, she broke a headline story on an exclusive 36-page document written by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Al-Qaeda militant behind the 9/11 attacks. Since then, she presented two BBC documentaries, ‘The Muslim Pound’ (2016) and ‘A Deadly Warning: Srebrenica Revisited’ (2015) nominated for the Sandford St Martin religious programming award. Myriam is also a Research Associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies at SOAS University, where she focuses on British-Muslim integration issues. She recently completed her doctorate at Oxford University on the subject of Islamic political movements in Morocco.
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