Young leaders

Investing in the future of peace

Three women participating in the
Young Political Leaders from the Maghreb conference © European Union (2016) - European Parliament

The European Parliament's Young Political Leaders programme (YPL) was established by the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) in April 2015 and it targets future leaders, parliamentarians, political party representatives and politically active civil society actors outside the EU.


The European Parliament's Young Political Leaders programme brings together young leaders from countries outside the EU to encourage peaceful dialogue and cooperation, while building confidence.
The programme develops participants' capacities as peacebuilders, facilitates discussions on challenging regional issues and promotes the political inclusion of youth and civil society.

The programme is inspired by EU core values - human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. By investing in dialogue, the programme reaches out to the next generation of leaders beyond the European Union and empowers them to build better, more peaceful societies.
Young Political Leaders from the Maghreb conference visiting the European Parliament
© European Union (2016) - European Parliament
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Young Political Leaders at a conference table in the European Parliament
© European Union (2016) - European Parliament
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Young Political Leaders at the meeting with President Tajani in the European Parliament
© European Union (2016) - European Parliament
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Through the Young Political Leaders programme, the European Parliament:

  • Builds strong and lasting relations with future leaders outside the European Union.
  • Bridges the gap between young leaders from communities divided by conflict, as well as between young activists and young elected representatives.
  • Contributes to confidence and reconciliation in participants' countries.
  • Enables young people to be active participants in peace processes and dispute resolution.
  • Raises awareness about conflict dynamics and mediation skills to create momentum for talks and expand mutual understanding of divergent perspectives.
  • Enhances the role of young leaders in non-EU countries and regions, and particularly in the EU neighbourhood.
  • Addresses youth disengagement with politics, and especially with traditional party politics, a global trend feeding further into the recent challenges of fake news and political polarization.
  • Encourages the creation of parliamentary youth caucuses reaching across the political isles, as an investment in institutional resilience.
Mediation, inter-party dialogue and consensus building are increasingly recognised as highly cost-effective tools to be applied in a wide range of cases, complementing democracy support and conflict prevention efforts.

The role of young leaders in this effort is gaining greater recognition on the global stage. A strong endorsement of the programme's target came with the recent UN resolution 2250 (2015).

YPL Network

Participants of the Young Political Leaders programme in front of the European Parliament building in Brussels © European Union (2016) - European Parliament
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Photo of participants of the Young Political Leaders programme with President Tajani, European Parliament, Brussels
© European Union (2016) - European Parliament
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All participants in the Young Political Leaders programmes are part of the YPL Network.

By reaching out to the YPL alumni and engaging with experts in the field, the Network contributes to the initiative's sustainability through long-term relations, communication and follow-up activities.