Thomas L. Friedman


Why I'm Involved

We're going in the wrong direction and I think the only way to counter that is to bring the story home in really concrete ways to people - in ways that kids can understand and non-scientists can understand.

Thomas L. Friedman

About Thomas L. Friedman

Thomas L. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and columnist—the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of six bestselling books, among them From Beirut to Jerusalem and The World Is Flat.

In high school, Friedman developed two passions that would define his life from then on: the Middle East and journalism. He attended the University of Minnesota and Brandeis University, graduating summa cum laude in 1975 with a degree in Mediterranean studies. In 1978, he received an M.Phil. degree in modern Middle East studies from Oxford. That summer he joined the London Bureau of United Press International (UPI) on Fleet Street. In 1979, he was dispatched to Beirut as a correspondent where he lived until 1981, covering the civil war there.

In May 1981, Friedman was offered a job by the legendary New York Times editor A. M. Rosenthal. He left Beirut and joined the staff of The New York Times in Manhattan. From May 1981 to April 1982, he worked as a general assignment financial reporter specializing in OPEC and oil-related news.

In April 1982, he was appointed Beirut Bureau Chief for The New York Times, a post he took up six weeks before the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. In June 1984, Friedman was transferred to Jerusalem, where he served as the Times’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief until February 1988.

In January 1989, Friedman started a new assignment as the Times’s Chief Diplomatic Correspondent, based in Washington, D.C. In November 1992, Friedman shifted to domestic politics with his appointment as the Times’s Chief White House Correspondent. In that role he covered the post-election transition and the first year of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

In January 1994, Friedman shifted again, this time to economics, and became the Times’s International Economics Correspondent, covering the nexus between foreign policy and trade policy.

Since January 1995, Friedman has been the Times’s Foreign Affairs columnist, traveling extensively in an effort to anchor his opinions in reporting on the ground. After 9/11, Friedman began making documentaries for the New York Times–Discovery Channel joint venture.

Over the next few years he coproduced, reported, and narrated six documentaries: “Straddling the Fence” (2003); “Searching for the Roots of 9/11” (2003); “The Other Side of Outsourcing” (2004); “Does Europe Hate Us?” (2005); “Addicted to Oil” (2006); and “Green: The New, Red, White and Blue” (2007). In 2008, Friedman published Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—and How It Can Renew America. It became his fifth consecutive New York Times bestseller.

A 2.0 version of Hot, Flat, and Crowded was published in paperback in 2009, with three new chapters exploring the parallels between the climate crisis and the global economic crisis.

Friedman has won three Pulitzer Prizes: the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Lebanon), the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Israel), and the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary.

In 2004, he was also awarded the Overseas Press Club Award for lifetime achievement and the honorary title Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2009, he was given the National Press Club’s lifetime achievement award. Friedman is a member of the Brandeis University Board of Trustees and, since 2004, of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

He was a visiting lecturer at Harvard University in 2000 and 2005. He has been awarded honorary degrees by Brandeis University, Macalester College, Haverford College, the University of Minnesota, Hebrew Union College, Williams College, Washington University in St. Louis, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Technion, the University of Maryland at Baltimore, Grinnell College, the University of Delaware, and Tulane. Friedman and his wife, Ann, reside in Bethesda, Maryland.

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