The first European leadership programme
Concept and seminars
What is the objective of the "40 UNDER 40"?

To bring together 40 of the continent’s best and brightest young minds who will contribute to European leadership through their capacity to inspire people. The aim is to develop a dynamic community of European leaders, sharing knowledge and good practice in order to foster cooperation between all Europeans. The ‘40 UNDER 40’ will create a valuable and effective network of young European leaders that will become a flagship European programme shaping the future of our continent and creating a coherent European identity.
How many times do the "40 UNDER 40" get together?

We organise two 3-day seminars per year to which the 40 selected candidates are invited to take part in. The seminars are composed of interactive discussions, informal chats, “out of the box” sessions and workshops with high-level decision-makers and experts, including EU and national policymakers, civil society representatives, corporate executives and journalists. Nevertheless, the main focus is to forge a network of exceptional individuals that are committed to think upon the future of Europe together.
Where did the seminars already take place?

The "40 UNDER 40" have previously met in Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Athens.
Selection process
How does the selection process work?

Every year, the programme founders draw up a shortlist of potential candidates with the support of their partners, European-wide networks and the 40 UNDER 40 alumni network. At this stage, the shortlisted candidates are invited to submit a CV and cover letter outlining their motivation to contribute to the programme and highlighting their achievements and relevant experiences that could make them a viable European Young Leader.

The 40 UNDER 40 European Young Leaders are then selected by a selection committee composed of 13 distinguished European decision-makers. The selection committee evaluates candidates based on their potential to contribute to European leadership through their capacity to inspire people. The aim is to develop a dynamic community of European leaders, sharing knowledge and good practice in order to foster cooperation between all Europeans. Equally important, is a candidate’s enthusiasm to participate in the programme and his/her interest in becoming an active member of the 40 UNDER 40 alumni community.

We aim to select European Young Leaders with diverse backgrounds in order to enable a cross-fertilization of ideas, in a neutral and practical exchange space, thus creating the basis of a new generation of engaged European leaders.
Which are the selection criteria?

*Candidates must be between 30 and 40 years of age
*Candidates must be originally from a member country of the European Union
*Candidates are evaluated based on their potential to attain the highest levels of their chosen profession
*Candidates are evaluated based on their ability to contribute to the enrichment of the programme as a whole
*Candidates must have a record of extraordinary achievements and professional experiences
*Candidates must be committed to serve society at large through noteworthy contributions
*Candidates are required to be fluent in English as the working language of the programme is English
How selective is the programme?

The "40 UNDER 40" is a highly selective programme and the organisers as well as the selection committe strive to ensure its quality by carefully selecting each participant. We regularly receive many more candidacies than we can accommodate in a given year, thus, we recommend that candidates highlight their achievements and relevant experiences in their cover letter as well as their motivation to take part in the programme.

Do you accept applications or do I need to be referred to the programme?

No, a candidate does not need to be referred to the program in order to apply. We welcome applications from interested individuals. In case you believe that you could make a substantial contribution to the programme, are committed to be part of a new network of European opinion leaders and meet the selection criteria, please send in your application on the Selection process page.
However, we do accept recommendations from our extended network partners, supporters and alumni.

Can a candidate apply/be referred more than once to the programme?

Yes. There is no limit to the number of times a candidate can apply or be recommended. We carefully study each candidate's profile and motivation and strive to meet all the criteria that we have already listed above.
We are committed to providing equal opportunities to everyone. All qualified candidates will receive consideration. The selection will be made without regard to, and there will be no discrimination because of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, political affiliations, marital status, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, or on the basis of personal favoritism or other non-merit factors.