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 in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future.

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.

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

Meet the European Young Leaders
Malta
Aaron Farrugia
CEO of Malta Freeport Corporation

Aaron runs the Malta Freeport, which was established in 1988 as the first transhipment hub in the Mediterranean. The company has experienced remarkable growth and currently ranks twelfth among the top European ports. Aaron 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.

Adele Luta
Research Affiliate, Brain & Cognitive Sciences Dept. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Adele is an expert in strategic cognitive skills, advanced theory of mind, and applied physics. Her research focuses on operators in time-limited, life-critical, restricted communication environments and how they employ Theory of Mind (ToM) in their mission. Adele’s previous experience  includes working as a NASA Flight Controller/Astronaut Instructor, in which role she provided support for over 90 US Space Shuttle, International Space Station (ISS), and Russian spacewalks, and trained five Shuttle crews and two ISS increments in Extra Vehicle Activity (EVA). In addition to her current work as a Research Affiliate at MIT, she has also recently been appointed by the United States of America as a technical team member to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Science and Technology Organization through its Collaborative Support Office.

Belgium
Adil El Arbi
Film Director & Screenwriter

Adil co-directed three movies, one TV series and two award-winning short movies. His two first feature movies, ‘Image’ (2010) and ‘Black’ (2015), co-directed with his friend Bilall Fallah, are set in run-down districts of Brussels. ‘Black’, which features non-professional young actors, premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. The plot brings a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ love story to street gangs in modern-day Brussels. Adil became a celebrity by winning ‘The Smartest Person in the World’ quiz on Flemish television. In 2016, the renowned American producer Jerry Bruckheimer entrusted him and Bilall Fallah with the direction of ‘Beverly Hills Cop 4’, the latest in a series of movies starring Eddie Murphy.

Portugal
Adolfo Mesquita Nunes
Former Secretary of State for Tourism, National Government of Portugal

Adolfo was the Portuguese Secretary of State of Tourism till 2015. Prior to this he was a Member of the Portuguese Parliament’s Committees on Ethics, Communication and Citizenship; Budget, Finance and Public Administration; and Monitoring Measures of the Financial Assistance Programme to Portugal. He has extensive experience in the legal sector, having served as a lawyer, consultant and advisor to various public institutions and private firms. In 2004 he was Head of Cabinet for the Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning. He holds a Master’s degree in Law and Political Science from the University of Lisbon where he defended his thesis on The Urgency in Public Procurement Litigation.

Italy
Adriano Farano
Head of Content, Plex Inc. Co-Founder of Watchup

Prior to joining Plex Inc., Adriano was the former 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 Cafebabel.com, a pan-European online media outlet entirely translated in 6 languages that has thousands of contributors which he ran from 2001 to 2009. 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.

Lithuania
Agnija Šeiko
Choreographer

Agnija is an award-winning choreographer and dancer. She is the author of more than 20 choreography works, including dance films, installations and performances. Her compositions have been performed at dance festivals both in her native Lithuania and abroad. Agnija successfully collaborates with creators of various art forms, resulting in dance pieces that feature audio-visual art and sculpture installations. Along with choreographing, Agnija gives lectures at Klaipeda University and runs the dance company PADI DAPI Fish. She was named Best Choreographer of the Year in 2012 and in 2013 was awarded the Golden Cross of the Stage, the highest Lithuanian theatre award. Her most recent show, ‘Dior in Moscow’, was presented at the International Contemporary Dance Festival ‘New Baltic Dance’.

Italy
Alessandro Fusacchia
Strategic Advisor H-Farm

Alessandro is a former Advisor to the Italian Economic Development Minister on European Affairs, Innovation and Youth, and former Head of Office at the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. Previously he was an official at the Council of the European Union dealing with global economic governance (G20/IMF). He has worked for the Italian Prime Minister’s office in Rome as part of the G8 team, as well as for the Italian Ministry of International Trade. He teaches at the LUISS Guido Carlo School of Government in Rome and at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. He was until recently President of RENA, the Italian association of young professionals promoting innovation, merit, youth empowerment and a new generation of local public policies. He is also the author of two novels.

Alex Budak
Executive Director University of California Berkeley Center for Reinventing Leadership

Alex Budak is a serial social entrepreneur, Executive Director of the UC Berkeley Center for Reinventing Leadership, and a firm believer that anyone can be a changemaker.  Alex co-founded, and now advises, StartSomeGood.com which has helped 700+ social impact organizations in 50+ countries raise $7M+. He is a mentor, coach and adviser to social entrepreneurs around the world, most recently running Scandinavia’s leading social impact incubator, Reach for Change, in Stockholm, Sweden. Alex has given talks on the topics of leadership and social innovation in venues ranging from Ukraine to Cambodia; LA to the Arctic Circle; and at both the World Bank and White House. His writing has been published in FastCompany, The Guardian and Huffington Post.

Romania
Alina Gorghiu
Member, Senate of Romania

Alina is a Romanian lawyer and politician who is actively engaged in the local life of the city of Bucharest. In addition to being a lawyer and mediator in criminal investigations she is also former a Member of the Chamber of Deputies in the Romanian Parliament where she acts as Secretary for the Legal, Disciplinary and Immunities Committee. She studied Law, Administration and Political Science at well-known Romanian universities, and she is currently a PhD candidate in Criminal Law. Alina graduated from Harvard University’s Public Leaders in Southeast Europe programme.

Germany
Andi Wecker
Film producer and Director, Network Movie

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.

Seminars
Time to reclaim the centre stage
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European Young Leaders
Tallinn seminar
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Future Europe
Lisbon seminar
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Future Europe
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Future Europe
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Future Europe
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Selection process