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
Netherlands
Jamila Aanzi
Business economist, UN Women’s Representative

Jamila has positioned herself as one of the leading innovators in the fields of youth involvement and social outreach in the Netherlands. She has participated in numerous programmes aimed at encouraging cooperation between diverse backgrounds and envisioning a new social and political vision. In 2017, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, appointed Jamila as Dutch women’s representative at the United Nations. As a senior international trainer for the Max van der Stoel foundation she trains political parties and politicians in Eastern Europe, the Middle-East and North-Africa. Jamila is an alumni of several international leadership programs like the Israeli ‘future European leaders’ program and the US state department’s ‘international visitors leadership’ program.

Israel
Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar
Co-Founder & Artistic Director at Polyphony Foundation, MENA Young Leader 2017

A gifted violinist and visionary champion for youth and community development, Nabeel has led and inspired people from all walks of life across Israel, Europe and the U.S. He performed with, and was a spokesperson for, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for a decade as well as performing as a soloist with the Jerusalem Camerata and the Haifa Symphony orchestras. In 2006, Nabeel gave up his music career and returned to his hometown, the Arab-Israeli city of Nazareth, where he founded and led the Barenboim-Said Conservatory—now known as the Polyphony Conservatory—to answer the need he saw in the community for quality music programming. Nabeel has been awarded the Yoko Ono Award for Courage in the Arts for his lifelong-commitment to fostering a sense of community between young pan-Arab and Jewish musicians

Denmark
Mette Abildgaard
MP, group chair and political spokesperson for Conservative Party in Denmark

In 2015, Mette became one of the youngest individuals to be elected Member to the Danish Parliament. Representing the Conservative People’s Party, she serves as the spokesperson for healthcare, environment, climate and the Danish constitution. In 2016, she was appointed as group chair and political spokesperson, a promotion which made her the youngest person to hold this position in the history of the Conservative People’s Party. Before being elected to the parliament, Mette served as a Member of the Regional Council of the Capital Region of Denmark and worked as a volunteer for the Danish Cancer Society. In addition to these posts, Mette has served on the board of the Metropol College of Higher Education.

Egypt
Seif Abou Zaid
Founder & Chief Executive Officer Mavericks International School, MENA Delegate

Seif is a social and policy entrepreneur, passionate about education and its relationship to governance. Seif co-founded the Agency for Development and Enhancement, which provides training for young people, and the Nabadat Foundation, a non-profit which aims to use technology to improve education to fight poverty and enhance political awareness. Seif is also the former CEO of Tahrir Academy, a blended learning platform that creates intellectually-stimulating learning experiences for more than 160,000 registered Egyptian and Arab learners. In 2015, he founded the Mavericks International School, which seeks to leverage innovative teaching methods and technology to develop the unique potential of its students.

Lebanon
Abdallah Absi
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Zoomaal

Abdallah is founder and CEO of Zoomal, the leading crowdfunding platform in the Middle East, which involves the top VCs in MENA, and co-founder of GivingLoop, a sustainable fundraising platform that helps non-profits focus less on fundraising and more on changing the world. Abdallah did not complete his university education, but went on to see huge successes in the entrepreneurial world, being covered by CNN, WSJ, Forbes, and others. He is also an Ashoka fellow, a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum in the Beirut Hub, and a Startup Weekend organizer by the Kauffman foundation, and describes himself as a social mission-driven tech entrepreneur on a mission to redefine global philanthropy using tech.

Italy
Alberto Alemanno
Professor of EU Law, HEC Paris, Founder of The Good Lobby

Alberto is an academic, author and activist. He’s currently Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law at HEC Paris and Global Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. Due to his commitment to bridge the gap between academic research and policy action, Alberto pioneered innovative forms of civic engagement and campaigning in the EU transnational space via his civic start up The Good Lobby and his campaigns contributed to democratizing the EU. His last book, ‘Lobbying for Change: Find Your Voice to Create a Better Society’ provides a timely analysis and guide to levelling the democratic playing field by empowering ordinary citizens to speak up and inform policy decisions at local, national and international level. A Harvard graduate, he’s a regular contributor to Le Monde, Bloomberg, Politico Europe, Forbes, and Il Sole 24 Ore, and his scholarly and public interest work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, the Financial Times as well Science and Nature. The World Economic Forum nominated him Young Global Leader in 2015. 

Spain
Elena Alfaro Martínez
Global Head of Data and Head of Innovation, BBVA

Elena is a manager at the BBVA Group Innovation unit, where she leads the Big Data/Smart Cities Global Initiative aimed at creating new urban services based on smart data and information management. For this, she has obtained international recognition through various publications in the media. She has played an active role in the development of telecommunications in EMEA and LATAM in the business development area, and subsequently expanded her career as an expert in the field of innovation. Elena holds a degree in Economics & Business Management from the University of Madrid and a BA in Business Studies from the University of Sunderland in the UK.

Saudi Arabia
Lina Almaeena
Co-founder & Director of Jeddah United (JU)

Lina is a leading figure in the sport industry in Saudi Arabia, who co-founded Jeddah United (JU), the first Saudi private sports company to train girls and boys in team sports to promote sports culture. Lina was captain of the Jeddah United Women’s basketball division up to 2012, columnist for Almadina newspaper, and climbed the Everest Base Camp as part of a breast cancer awareness campaign. Her efforts are an example of grassroots challenging of strict gender rules in Saudi Arabia, and Lina has been listed as one of the 200 Most Powerful Women in the Middle East by Forbes Magazine 2014.

Spain
Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo
President, Libres e Iguales

Cayetana is a former Member of the Spanish Parliament (2008- 2011) and Vice-President of the Joint Committee for the European Union and a Member of the Justice and Constitutional Committees. She was also Deputy Speaker for the Partido Popular of Madrid and Director of the International Department of FAES Foundation. She was awarded the Silver Microphone of the Spanish Professional Association of Informants of Press, Radio and Television for her articles published in El Mundo. She holds a BA and a PhD in History from Oxford University.

Tunisia
Ines Amri
Senior Development Consultant, MENA Young Leader 2017

Ines is a high-performing, award-winning executive with 10 years of experience founding and establishing socially-minded NGOs in the Maghreb region. She is the Founder and Chair of Organisation Volonté et Citoyenneté, a community-based non-profit in the South of Tunisia. She also served as Managing Director of the Maghreb Economic Forum, a Swiss-Tunisian Think-Do-Tank. She currently serves as a Senior Development Consultant at national and international organizations like the Arab Institute of Business Leaders, CANDID Foundation, International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Global Projects Partner and Hilfswerk Austria. She is a member of different networks including EYL40, BMW Foundation Responsible Leader, Bosch Foundation, UNAOC, US DOS Professional Fellows and the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Ines was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University and is now embarking on an Executive MBA program at ESMT Berlin.

Seminars
European Young Leaders
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A Question of leadership?
- 12:30
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Empowering citizens across Europe
- 19:00
European Young Leaders (EYL40) Valletta Seminar
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High Level Dialogue with Young Mediterranean Voices & EYL40 Young Leaders
- 12:30
Young Mediterranean Voices & EYL40 Young Leaders
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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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