Saudi Arabia’s NEOM has appointed Dr. Andreas Cangellaris as the founding president of NEOM U – the first university in the megacity project.
Cangellaris has served as Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Provost since 2018 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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“Dr. Cangellaris will lead the development of NEOM U on its journey to become a preeminent knowledge institution that supports NEOM’s vision as a hub of innovation and a society empowered by the opportunities of new technologies,” a statement from NEOM reads. .
He referred to the Education, Research and Innovation (ERI) cluster which aims to empower future generations through technology from the earliest years.
“It will be a university without borders, leveraging next-generation educational technologies with on-site and online learning,” the statement said, adding that its graduates will strengthen digital and technological thinking and seek the ability to design innovative solutions.
The university will initially offer academic and research programs covering computer science, engineering and design, media, art and entertainment, and business.
“To change the world for the better, you need everyone to become an agent of change. And that’s what NEOM U will do by bringing together learners from across the Kingdom and the world in NEOM’s living lab and immersing them in learning how the deliberate, responsible and innovative use of technology can improve our world and the human condition,” Cangellaris said in a statement to media.
NEOM was announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2017 as part of the Kingdom’s drive to diversify its oil-dependent economy.
The Crown Prince wants NEOM to be a futuristic, sustainable community brought together by The Line – a 170 kilometer stretch of car-free communities linked by public transport.
The university’s founding president reportedly oversaw the academic and research programs of American educational institutions with more than 50,000 students, 15 colleges, and more than 150 degree programs.
He reportedly earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and his postgraduate degrees, Master of Science and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.
“NEOM U is our first step towards developing post-secondary education accessible to all, attracting the brightest students from across the Kingdom and the world,” NEOM CEO Nadhmi al-Nasr said in a statement to the media. “We want it to be a differentiator and a strong signal of NEOM’s commitment to pioneering ideas in a world driven by innovation.”
“Education is key to achieving NEOM’s ambitious vision and goals,” al-Nasr said.
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