Introducing our new Pool of External Representatives!

As our organisation keeps growing and rural youth is climbing higher in the political agenda, we decided to create a pool of external RYEurope representatives from across our member organisations to represent us at events across Europe and beyond.

The aim is to provide more young people from within our network the opportunity to get their voice heard at a European level, making sure rural voices are heard loud and clear. After a selection process, we now have individuals from across Europe who have formed our ‘Pool of External Representatives’ (PER). Find out more about each of them below!


Elisabeth Fleischhacker

I’m Elisabeth from Austria and part of the organisation Landjugend Österreich. Growing up in a rural area in Austria, I’ve personally experienced the challenges faced by rural communities. Alongside my role in Landjugend Österreich, I’m also a teacher, focusing on nutrition, consumption, health and religion. This means I can contribute not only to address the specific needs of rural areas, but also to educate people about important aspects that affect the well-being of these communities.

Being part of the PER means not only advocating for the needs of rural youth, but also gaining valuable experiences through events, training courses, conferences and forums. I am eager to learn from these diverse opportunities and to network with like-minded people who share a commitment to make a meaningful impact.


Christian Ganhör

Hi, I am Chris and a member of Rural Youth Austria. Growing up in the countryside, I’ve personally experienced some of the challenges of rural life, such as the lack of activities and events. Making rural life more fun and exciting has thus been my focus in recent years.

I wanted to be part of the PER to go beyond borders and take the opportunity to talk to individuals from diverse backgrounds, exchanging experiences and ideas, all to improve everyday life for young people and make their voices heard.


Charlotte Jackson

Hi everyone, I am Charlotte from Norfolk in England. I am part of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (NFYFC) and go to Wymondham YFC. I live in a rural area and enjoy making connections with young people. I am passionate about supporting British farmers, buying local, reducing food waste and creating more sustainable practices. I applied to be part of the PER with RYEurope to find out more about rural issues affecting young people across Europe and how we can learn from each other to create a more inclusive environment. I enjoy networking, experiencing new cultures and learning about how farming practices differ across countries and organisations within Europe.


Petter Jacobsen

My name is Petter Jacobsen and I come from Norway. I’ve grown up in a rural area in the southern part of Norway, but am currently living in the very centre of our capital, Oslo. Coming from a rural area, I have seen first-hand how non-central areas often are second in line when it comes to the public prioritisation of various services. Knowing how great it is to grow up in the countryside, I find it very meaningful to contribute to making the youth thrive wherever they grow up.

While I live and work as centrally as I do, every day I meet people who know very little about life in the countryside. I find it meaningful to discuss and learn from such people and I enjoy being a representative for rural youth. I very much look forward to contributing to raising the rural voice by being part of RYEurope’s PER.


Sophie Kleedorfer

My name is Sophie Kleedorfer and I am part of the organisation Landjugend, the biggest youth organisation in Austria. Landjugend offers a wide range of activities, education and trainings in different sectors, for example sports and society, agriculture and environment, young and international, culture and tradition. Landjugend connects rural and urban areas with a great community spirit.

I live on an agricultural farm where I experience lots of challenges in the last years. Especially the appreciation is becoming less and less. I wanted to be part of the PER because I want to raise my voice for rural youths and represent our values.


Fabian Kogler

Hello there! I’m Fabian Kogler, originally from the enchanting southern landscapes of Austria. My journey has been defined by leadership roles within the vibrant community of Landjugend Österreich, where I currently hold the position of the Vice Chairman.

Why am I part of the PER you might ask? It’s simple – I’m on a mission to fortify rural spaces. The charm of the countryside isn’t just in its scenic beauty; it’s about fostering resilience, embracing sustainability, and celebrating the unique cultural tapestry that weaves through our rural communities. I believe in the untapped potential of these areas, and my commitment to the PER is driven by a desire to strengthen and invigorate rural life. Join me in this personal quest to empower, innovate, and cultivate a future where our rural spaces thrive with resilience and a strong sense of community.


Eva Kotnik

My journey into youth advocacy kicked off during my thesis writing, where I delved into the role of young people in co-creating rural areas in the local community. Following that, a mix of profound curiosity and fortune events guided me to the Slovenian Rural Youth Association (ZSPM), where I am currently the head of youth policies and rural development field. In April 2023 I was also elected in the  position as a member of the AC on Youth at CoE for the 2024-25 mandate.

My motivation to join PER and represent Rural Youth Europe stems from a profound passion for advocating for rural youth and rural development. I’ve dedicated significant time to this cause, having graduated in Geography with a focus on the co-creation of rural areas by youth. My commitment extends to active involvement in ZSPM, where I represent Slovenian rural youth nationally and internationally. I believe that Joining PER will enable me to collaborate with like-minded individuals, collectively advocating for rural youth, and making our voices more impactful.


Florian Lassnig

 I am 26 years old, study Computer Science and come from a very small  town in the southernmost part of Austria, called Carinthia. I’ve been part of Rural Youth Austria for more than 11 years now. Through growing up in a rural area, being part of a rural youth organisation and also being on several different boards in that organisation over the years, I got to know the problems and challenges (and of course the great things) of rural living for young people.

I wanted to join the PER because I am eager to connect with decision-makers and actively contribute to the journey towards a good future for rural youth with a focal point on digitalisation and infrastructure.


Ella Nyström

My name is Ella, 21 years old from Sweden. I am a member of Swedish 4H, as I have been since I was 7 years old. I study an engineering program called Global Systems. It’s a profile dedicated to study the relations between society, environment and technology.

I am passionate about inclusion and equality, as well as the influence of young people in society. I think it is really important that young people always are integrated in decision making. I went to RYEurope’s Autumn Seminar 2022 in Ireland and I was inspired by the participants and organisations, which is why I decided to join the PER. I hope to be one more loud young voice in Europe!


Erja Söhl

Hello, my name is Erja, I am 24 years old and living in the northern part of Germany. That’s why I’m a representative of the Association Bund der Deutschen Landjugend. In the PER I would like to engage myself for the future prospects of young people in rural areas. Every young person who wants to live in the country should have the same opportunities as in the city. I would like to represent the rural youth in politics, so that rural areas should not be left behind.


Martin Siemen

 I am from a small village in the north-west of Germany. I have been an active member of the Rural Youth of Lower Saxony on different levels for more than 10 years and I work as an engineer at a shipyard. Growing up in the countryside and actively being involved in rural communities motivates me to stand up for rural youth and demanding to put rural issues on the political agenda on a local, national and European level.

In 2021-2022 I represented Group 2 (Central Europe) on the RYEurope Board and I was able to broaden my network and knowledge regarding rural youth in general and how RYEurope works. Therefore, I am looking forward to continue representing Rural Youth on a European level as a PER Member and making rural voices heard.


Harry Sprague

Hi there! My name is Harry, I’m 22 and I am a member of The National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (YFC). I am from the south of England hailing from the county of Devon, where my local YFC club, Whimple and Broadclyst is based. I’ve been a member of YFC since I was 14 years old, and have held many roles within the club from Sports Secretary, to Treasurer, to even Club Chairman.

Rural issues are something close to my heart, being from a dairy farming family and working on the family farm. In my opinion, rural voices aren’t heard loud enough and need to be heard louder, especially those of the rural youth. Hence why I want to be part of the PER, to help represent these rural voices. I can’t wait to meet new people from across Europe and other organisations.


Marie Wallace

My name is Marie Wallace. I’m a member of Macra na Feirme, the largest rural youth organisation in Ireland. I have held many positions within Macra including Chairperson of my region of Muskerry, Rural Youth Officer and Club Treasurer of my local club, Donoughmore in Co. Cork.

I am also a primary teacher working in a small rural school which makes me acutely aware of the issues and challenges which face young people in rural Ireland today. I applied to be a member of the Pool of External Representatives after the Rural Youth Europe Autumn Seminar in Georgia last year. I met so many amazing people with fascinating insights and experiences on this trip and I’m hopeful that I can continue to share ideas and work with like-minded people through the PER.