Young European Leadership (YEL) is an organisation made up of young Europeans from all walks of life who are eager to shape their future

Our vision

Young European Leadership (YEL) is an organisation made up of young Europeans from all walks of life who are eager to shape their future. Our members are united to work actively together for the future of our generation. We want to see the innovative ideas of our generation welcomed, heard, supported, debated and implemented.

In the future, we envision young Europeans having the power to create the world they and future generations will live in. Regardless of their gender, ability, beliefs or background, they must all have the same opportunities to pursue their ideals, to speak up and act freely and to participate in key decision-making processes. Young Europeans shall be taken seriously and their concerns met. In the future, the young Europeans of YEL seek to contribute to a better Europe. We want it to be a place where equal opportunities, inclusive decision-making, democratic legitimisation and security are realised ideals. In this Europe, young people will be able to contribute to their local, national, European and global communities.

Our mission

Our mission is the empowerment of the young European generation. We strive to be a platform run by and for young Europeans who want to shape their own future. We acknowledge the tremendous challenges and uncertainties that young people are facing all over our continent and beyond. It is our mission to tackle these challenges in various ways.

What we do

YEL provides support for young Europeans to invent and disseminate innovative solutions to world problems. To achieve this, we seek out young European leaders and train them in leadership skills. We connect them with each other, with their communities and with global decision makers. In this way, young people can respond positively and proactively to European crises and the challenges facing our world.

Activities of Young European Leadership

YEL provides aspiring leaders with innovative forms of engagement to directly connect with experienced decision makers from all sectors. YEL has a strong track record to form delegations joining summits and other international events to give its members the opportunity to speak up and provide critical policy input. One of the responsibilities of YEL is to recruit and train the official delegations of the European Union to the annual Y7 (Y8) and Y20 Summits, the official young counterpart to the G7 and G20 Summits. Other international events include the European Development Days, the OECD Forum including the exclusive OECD IdeaFactory, the World Bank / IMF Annual Meetings, the Nuclear Knowledge Summit, the International Energy Forum, the International Conference of Europeanists, and the Social Good Summit. YEL prepares its delegations with specific trainings and meetings, e.g. with the Prime Minister of Belgium Elio Di Rupo or the G20 Sherpas of the European Union Richard Szostak and António José Cabral.

YEL connects future decision makers with each other as well as senior policy makers also through its own initiatives. These events are created to facilitate leadership skills and to encourage the development of policy recommendations by young people to shape their own future. YEL’s flagship event is the Young European Council (YEC). The YEC, organized for the first time in 2014, strives to be a youth counterpart of the European Council and the Council of the European Union. The first YEC brought together over 60 delegates from all over Europe to provide actionable recommendations for European policy making around the themes of sustainability, digital and youth employment. Guests to the event included European Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and European Committee of the Regions President Michel Lebrun. The YEC 2015 will address the topics Energy Union and Climate Action, Migration and Home Affairs, and Education to Employment.

Other initiatives include Eat & Meet, a unique opportunity to foster the exchange between future leaders, policy makers, and experts in informal dinner setting. Past editions welcomed, among others, the European Commission Director General for Environment Karl Friedrich Falkenberg and World Bank Lead Economist Theo Thomas. YEL has organized Eat&Meet events in Brussels, Berlin, and London and plans further editions throughout Europe. Going beyond borders, YEL has also organized webinars, virtual debates, and other initiatives such as the Euroscepticism project in 2014.

Growth and Aspirations of Young European Leadership

Since its foundation in 2011 YEL’s portfolio has steadily increased, cooperating with a multitude of international partners in over 20 countries around the world active in youth policy. The development of the organization is met by a steadily rising interest of external stakeholders and fast growing reach online and offline. To meet these increasing expectations YEL’s staff has grown continuously, representing young professionals and students from all over Europe and beyond. YEL aspires to further its standing as a reliable partner in European and global youth initiatives, to provide greater access to its programs, and to continuously deliver relevant and constructive input at all major conferences shaping the lives of future generations.

Our values

  • Equality of opportunity for all
  • Perseverance until goals are achieved and needs are met
  • Leadership worth following
  • Progressiveness for the best solution for each problem.

YEL is convinced that achieving equality is an essential part of creating a strong force for enduring and sustainable change. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to voice their views and to contribute to their community, nation and world. The acts of today’s key decision makers shape young people’s future significantly. We believe that young people must have greater opportunities, easier access and more channels to participate in European and global policymaking. We endeavour to keep a balance between gender and geography in our teams and delegations. Beyond this, we seek to be a channel for young people’s voices. We want to be a platform for connecting them with each other and giving them the opportunity to get involved in diverse initiatives. Finally, we aim to be the bridge between the community of young people and older generations.

Our history

Young European Leadership (YEL) was created in 2011 following the Y8 and Y20 Summits (formerly G8 & G20 Youth Summits), under the name of YouthAEGIS. After redefining our mission to foster leadership among young people especially Europeans, we became YEL at the end of 2012. Since 2013, YEL has been an international non-profit organisation, based in Brussels.