Ashoka launched in Central and Eastern Europe in 1995, and expanded to countries in Western Europe ten years later, most recently launching in Israel. 229 Ashoka Fellows have been elected in 14 European countries to date.

Central and Eastern Europe

After the wall fell, there came an explosion of citizen sector activity throughout Central and Eastern Europe—a blossoming of civic leadership that for decades had been limited to underground movements and anti-Communist activities. Ever since, our Fellows in Europe have been at the frontline of democratization and integration efforts, rebuilding societies in which citizens are engaged, governments are accountable, rights are ensured even for the most vulnerable, and social institutions are trusted.

Western Europe

Feeding off of our success in Central Europe, Ashoka launched its programs in Western Europe in 2005, starting with France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, and United Kingdom. Citizens across Western Europe have realized they can expect neither government nor business to solve some of their most pressing needs: failing and socially unbalanced education systems, the integration of an aging population, rising unemployment, and persisting tensions with immigrant populations. As of 2006, Ashoka elected its first Fellows in Western Europe, and has partnered with businesses to provide the resources for social entrepreneurs to succeed, develop new social financial services, and build a more innovative citizen sector across the continent.