14 March 2016

Become a Young Leader - Young Leaders Programme

News from EU Development Days.

Are you aged between 21 and 26 and proactive about finding solutions to the world’s most pressing problems? Are you ready to sit shoulder to shoulder with world leaders at a global forum on international development?

Apply now for your chance to be one of 16 Young Leaders at the European Development Days 2016 in Brussels, speak on a high-level panel, and showcase your development work to global audiences. Young Leaders are also invited to take part in activities and workshops, share their views, draft recommendations and meet with development decision-makers from around the world.

How to apply? Applicants must show leadership and knowledge in one of the European Development Days 2016 topics, demonstrate expertise in their chosen field, and explain how they will represent young people at the forum.

The application deadline is 18th of March.

All expenses for the 16 selected Young Leaders will be covered by the European Commission.

For more information please visit the website for the European Development Days or read below.

About the application process

The European Commission is looking for 16 extraordinary young people ages 21-26, from across the world with proven commitment and community engagement to represent the powerful impact that youth have in the development field. The winners will be ‘movers and shakers’ in their communities and countries who are helping to solve the universal challenges outlined in the EDD 2016 programme.

The 16 selected Young Leaders will be invited to Brussels, Belgium, and all expenses (Visa, travel, accommodation) will be covered by the European Commission.

Debate with Global Development Actors

As a YOUNG LEADER, you will be invited to come to EDD 2016 in Brussels, to speak in the auditorium panel discussions of the forum, along with key political leaders. You will have the opportunity to present your story to the audience, engaging with the delegations of governments and international organisations.

Each auditorium panel at EDD addresses one of the EDD 2016 topics, which you can read about here. As one of the 16 selected Young Leaders, you will be chosen to speak on one of these topics. You must therefore apply to be considered under one of the EDD 2016 topics, according to your expertise and experience.

On top of speaking in the highest-level debates at the forum, you will have the opportunity to participate in other brainstorming or debate sessions to help shape the development policies and practice for the 2030 Agenda.

Prior and during the forum, the YOUNG LEADERS will have the opportunity to visit the European Union institutions, meet relevant development policy-makers, participate in workshops and present practices from their regions.

How to apply

In order to apply for the YOUNG LEADERS programme, please submit your application by 13.00 CET 18 March 2016.

Application forms are available by clicking the APPLY NOW button on the Young Leaders page. You will first need to create a profile on the website and tick the box ‘I want to apply for the Young Leaders Programme’ when creating your profile. Late applications will not be accepted.

You will be applying as a speaker’s role for one of the EDD 2016 auditorium sessions, according to the topic of the panel. To complete the form, you must select the EDD topic that you wish to speak about. You must feel comfortable and knowledgeable about the topic of your choice and it must relate closely to your interests and expertise.

Do explore the 15 EDD 2016 topics in the ‘About EDD 2016’ page of the website.

The application process will involve three key stages.

  1. A “profile” stage, where you will be asked to fill in personal details and submit a Curriculum Vitae detailing your skills, with special emphasis on leadership and public speaking skills. You will also be required to present yourself and your engagement, in a short 2 min video and explain why you want to participate in EDD 2016 and why you would be a good representative for your chosen topic.
  2. A “leadership” stage, where you will be asked to state which group or organisation you will be representing during EDD 2016. It is important to demonstrate that you will be speaking in representation of other youth or civil society organisations. This can include representing a formal organisation, a social movement, an academic institution, club, representing the conclusions of a consultation, manifesto, conference or debate process, or having been selected by other children or youth in some way. This section will require the name and full contact information of the organisation you will be representing, a brief description of your role in this organisation. You will be asked for a reference letter from someone who can testify that you are a qualified leader, including contact details.
  3. An “involvement” stage, where should give up to two examples of active commitment to a cause related to your topic of choice. Your involvement can include a variety of different activities, such as building a project, conducting research, or volunteering for a cause related to your topic. You will be required to include key achievements, a project background description and a description of your role in the project. You should outline leadership skills, commitment to the relevant topic, and future plans or ambitions in the field of the chosen topic. You will also be able to upload up to 3 supporting files for each project.


  • Applicants must be between 21 and 26 at the time of the forum (15-16th June).
  • Applications are open to young adults from all around the world, without restriction of nationality.
  • Applications must be submitted in one of the following official European Commission languages: English / French / Spanish / German / Portuguese. The candidate must be able to speak clearly and comprehensively in one of these languages, as well as have a good spoken level of either English or French.
  • Applicants must be able to travel to and participate in EDD 2016 in Brussels (Belgium) from the 8th to the 18th of June 2016.

Evaluation Criteria

We will evaluate your application based on three criteria:

  • 40% Your knowledge of your chosen topic and the relevance of your active engagement. We encourage candidates to show how their activities have had an impact on the community.
  • 30% Your role as a representative of an organisation, other youth or community, and your leadership experience or potential.
  • 30% Your public speaking skills and ability to speak at a high-level panel.

Get Started!

You will find the application form on your personal dashboard of the European Development Days website. Note that you will be required to create a profile on the website before starting the application. Do not forget to tick the box ‘I want to apply for the Young Leaders Programme’ when you create your profile.

Do not forget that you should submit a completed form before Friday 18th March 2016. Should you require any additional information or assistance, please contact youth@eudevdays.eu

We wish you the best of luck in the application, and we are very much looking forward to reviewing your proposal!

Any questions? Contact youth@eudevdays.eu