We are back from Summer U in Viterbo, Italy, where we were part of an exciting campaign and general assembly, seeing passionate candidates going head to head in debates to win over the crowds. Besides the elections, the first part of the General Assembly saw passionate motion debates, from protecting our environment to expressing solidarity with Afghanistan.
Following an exciting election campaign, Elias Dray, from France, won the backing of delegates to become the next EUJS President, together with 8 new Board Members, hailing from all corners of Europe.
We are excited to present the new EUJS Presidium! The board of Vice-Presidents cannot wait to get started and has already held a first introductory meeting in Italy as well as planned the next two.
First of all, meet our new President:
Elias is from Paris, France. He studied International Relations in Brussels, was a national delegate of the French Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) and has served as EUJS Vice-President for the last year. He is passionate about activism and the future of Europe, focusing on empowering Jewish student leaders and carrying the voices of European Jews at international forums and within institutions. In his speech on the last day of Summer U, he said:
"To all Jewish students in Europe, EUJS is not the uncertain cloud you see in the distance, it is the family you can rely on! Now, let's work, gather, demonstrate, enjoy, connect, think, contest, and unite in a common path for building our future!"
Working together with Elias and the Brussels-based EUJS Office will be your new Board, which consists of 8 Vice-Presidents:
Camila Piastro is 28 years old and comes from Barcelona. She is a postgraduate on Peace and Gender and Euroculture Studies, currently working at CEJI - A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe. Camila's campaign platform was based on fostering solidarity networks, intersectional activism, and boosting representation of under-represented groups within EUJS, as well as amplifying the voices of national unions.
Ilan Selby from the UK is 25 years old, and currently works for a Brussels-based conflict transformation and peace-building NGO. As a former Policy Officer in the EUJS Office, he worked on enabling key institutions to adopt the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism, expanded outreach, and played a key part in the Never Again, Right Now! (NARN) campaign to end the Uyghur genocide.
Eryn Sarkin lives in Lisbon, Portugal and at 21 years old, is about to begin a Master's degree in Culture Studies. She is a founding member of the revitalised Portuguese Union of Jewish Students (JYP), and despite living in various countries throughout her years, she has always been involved in community outreach, volunteering, and Jewish youth initiatives. Among Eryn's pledges were supporting smaller unions and combating antisemitism.
Maté Zsedely-Holler, from Hungary, is a 20-year-old Political Science student at the University of Amsterdam, as well as a Ronald S. Lauder and WUJS Impact Fellow. Through living in Hungary, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands, Maté has learned a lot about the diverse challenges facing Jewish communities across Europe - and is determined to deliver more support for unions while improving outreach with non-Jewish organisations.
Micol Di Gioacchino, EUJS' Treasurer as well as Board Member, comes from Italy and is a 21-year-old Business Administration student in Rome. Before getting elected to the EUJS Board, she served as a Treasurer on the Board of UGEI - the Italian Union. She has a strong focus on tackling antisemitism and making a positive, impactful difference within Jewish communities.
Naomi Bennett comes from Germany and Israel, and as an unapologetic feminist, is committed to equal rights and women's empowerment. Having been a madricha, an EUJS Ambassador to the UN, and a Board Member of her regional Jewish student union in Germany, Naomi played an active role in the community for years. She ran her campaign on the six key pillars of advocacy, fostering Jewish pride, building resilience, embracing Europe, empowering all voices, and supporting arts and culture initiatives.
Olaf Stando, 26 years old, has lived in Poland, Sweden and England before settling in Scotland where he currently lives. He works as a communications advisor for Scotland's biggest political party, the SNP. Having served on the EUJS Board 2019-2021, he's been involved with EUJS for 7 years and was re-elected on a set of pledges centred on making EUJS a more activist, politically engaged organisation, as well as improving practical tools and resources for national unions. Olaf is also actively involved in the Never Again Right Now! (NARN) campaign, primarily focusing on media and outreach.
And, Yana Naftalieva is from Russia and has been involved in her Jewish community since her childhood years. At university, she has founded and massively expanded a Jewish club, organising numerous events and helping young Jews embrace their identity. Her platform was centred around "unity in diversity", delivering support and opportunities for EUJS' member unions.
The new EUJS leadership also would like to thank Esther Offenberg and all the other candidates who ran in this election, for investing your time and energy in a campaign for a cause that matters to you.
We can't wait to get started and look forward to meeting you on your campuses or at EUJS events. Please feel free to contact any of us at any point if you have any questions!