Ideas Lab


The CEPS Young
Thinkers Initiative

 Bringing the voice of youth

 to the European policy debate


The future
of Europe is you
Over to youth:
a CEPS series 
CEPS Young Thinkers
at Ideas Lab
Cooperation with other
youth organisations 

The future of Europe is you

In 2021, CEPS launched the Young Thinkers Initiative with the aim of including young and diverse voices in the European policy debate. The goal of the project is to give students and young professionals a platform to express their ideas and connect them with current policymakers and leaders. 

CEPS Young Thinkers is part of a wider initiative, the CEPS Sustainable Diversity Goals , an Open Society Foundation-funded project that aims to promote diversity in the field of research.

Over to youth: a CEPS series

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CEPS launched its “Young Thinkers Initiative” in May 2021 during its annual flagship conference, Ideas Lab. CEPS selected 30 brilliant young minds from over 20 different countries who engaged in a series of activities throughout the year. The project aims to provide students and young professionals with a platform to express fresh and innovative ideas.

CEPS is organising a series of events throughout the year in order to continue engaging with the Young Thinker Class of 2021 and follow up on the concrete proposals that emerged at Ideas Lab 2021. These activities include a cycle of five webinars and conferences entitled “Over to Youth: a CEPS series”. Young Thinkers will take part in five roundtable discussions about five different topics: climate change and sustainability, migration and human rights, hybrid threats to security, innovation, digitalisation and artificial intelligence, and democracy, citizenship, and rights. These roundtables will benefit from the contributions of five speakers, one from each continent, with the goal of stimulating policy debates about the future that are diverse and inclusive.

This project was in part funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein and emanating from the roundtable discussions are those of the individuals participating in the Young Thinkers Initiative and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.

CEPS Young Thinkers at Ideas Lab

The Young Thinkers Initiative had its opening event during CEPS annual flagship event, Ideas Lab, from 31 May to 3 June 2021. The Young Thinkers took part in guided strategic foresight sessions, were amongst the first to test a new gamification tool and had the opportunity to present their ideas to policymakers to a high-level roundtable. The topic of this week-long engagement to elevate diverse young voices was the future of Europe and citizen engagement. The final roundtable was an official event of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Cooperation with other youth organisations

International Youth Think Tank

CEPS Young Thinkers teamed up with the International Youth Think Tank (IYTT) to host a virtual event on 25 March 2021: “Back to the Future: empowering the next generation of European leaders“. The event brought together young people with high-level speakers, including Heather Grabbe, Director of Open Society European Policy Institute, Cecilia Malmström, Co-Founder of the IYTT and former EU Commissioner, and Daniel Freund MEP.

Western Balkans Youth Cooperation Platform

CEPS Young Thinkers have provided training for capacity building programs organised by the Cooperation and Development Institute for the Western Balkans Youth Cooperation Platform (WBYCP). The WBYCP is a grassroots regional youth platform that brings together the National Youth Congress of Albania, Kosovar Youth Council, High School Students Union of Montenegro, National Youth Council of Macedonia, National Youth Council of Serbia, and Youth Council of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

With the support of:

Open Society Foundations

United States Department of State