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NEOM - Made To Change

Neom is a planned smart city in Tabuk Province in northwestern Saudi Arabia. The site is north of the Red Sea, east of Egypt across the Gulf of Aqaba, and south of Jordan. The total area of Neom is 26,500 km2 (10,200 sq mi) or 33 times the size of New York City. The city's plans include multiple regions, including a floating industrial complex, global trade hub, tourist resorts, and a linear city - all powered exclusively by renewable energy sources.

Coming from the future, before it was even launched, this is how NEOM came about, and this is how its founder, His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, envisioned it, as he laid its foundations to be the future, an agent of progress and change. It was therefore expected that "future" be intertwined with NEOM's basic identity, its name, its values and its vision, and this is how NEOM is… from the future and to the future.

The Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM Board of Directors, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, discussed and deliberated with members of the project's Founding Board - in addition to experts and specialists in the field - about an appropriate name for such a project with a global outlook. When the Board conducted its first meetings to address related topics, among the agenda items was the search for a name that represents the identity and symbolism of this dream project, as HRH saw that the name expresses the cultural and civilizational dimension of the universality of the project. A series of discussions were circulated about the significance of the name and how it should reflect the project's global identity, human dimension and remarkable ambition.

The actual name designation journey began by defining criteria, qualities and conditions, all of which bear a clear and firm vision for selection; then, sorting and testing the lists of names proposed by the consulting team. The list included 2,000 names, which was further reduced - as per the standards and requirements - to 150 names, and then reduced again to five names. However, none of them was chosen or agreed upon.

During the Founding Board discussions, some members considered giving the project the name of HRH, the President of the Founding Board, either directly or by incorporating his name within the project name. As such, two names were suggested: "NEOVIA MBS" and "NMBS," but the opinions of the members were split. The team that was not in favor clarified that HRH, the Chairman of the Board, leads major national projects, and HRH being Chairman of NEOM Board of Directors is sufficient to deliver a message to the world that reflects the direct connection of HRH to the project. They did, however, support HRH's principal idea that the name should be neither Eastern nor Western, and also not belonging to a specific language or culture, in addition to being neutral and rather open to the entire world.

The Board members then brainstormed for words representing the project sectors and its basic pillars. What followed was choosing the initials of those sectors and merging them to obtain a distinctive name that preserves the identity of the project, and this resulted in the name "NEO MSTACBEL," whose initials MSTACBEL symbolize the main project sectors, such as Media, Sport, Technology and Energy. And then the word was abbreviated and symbolized by the letter M, meaning "Mim" in Arabic as a symbol for two words: It is the first letter of the Arabic word for future (mustaqbal) and also the first letter of the name of HRH Prince "Mohammed" bin Salman. Then the letter "M" was merged with the word "NEO" from the Greek language, which means new, to form the name that constitutes the beacon of change in the world. The name "NEOM" was henceforth formed and agreed upon unanimously by the Board.

Thus, the name NEOM was formed with the approval and endorsement of the Founding Board as the official name of the project; a true reflection of NEOM's vision and the reality that will be achieved - Allah willing - to contribute to building a promising future for future generations. From that moment on, the lights of NEOM have pierced the sky, heralding a luminous dawn, a promising future, and a rich life in a land built by man for the sake of all humanity.

It’s an attempt to do something that’s never been done before and it’s coming at a time when the world needs fresh thinking and new solutions. Simply put, NEOM will be a destination, a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for sustainable living, working and prospering.