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One of the world’s most distinguished and accomplished journalists, New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas L. Friedman, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of the National Book Award, will deliver Lafayette’s annual John and Muriel Landis Lecture at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the auditorium of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

Established by Trustee Emeritus John Landis, a member of Lafayette’s Class of 1939, the John and Muriel Landis Lecture series focuses on issues of technology and international cooperation. Friedman will speak on “The Lexus and The Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization,” the title of his most recent book, published in 1999 by Farrar Straus & Giroux and issued in paperback in May of this year by Bantam Doubleday Dell.

“In simplest terms,” says Kirkus Reviews, “Friedman defines globalization as the world integration of finance markets, nation states, and technologies within a free-market capitalism on a scale never before experienced.”

Driving it all is what he calls the Electronic Herd, the faceless buyers and sellers of stocks, bonds, and currencies, and multinational corporations investing wherever and whenever the best opportunity presents itself. It is a pitiless system richly rewarding winners, harshly punishing losers but contradictory as well. For nations and individuals willing to take the risk, globalization offers untold opportunity, yet in the process, as the Electronic Herd scavenges the world like locusts in the search for profit, globalization threatens to destroy both cultural heterogeneity and environmental diversity. The human drive for enrichment (the Lexus) confronts the human need for identity and community (the olive tree). The success of globalization, Friedman contends, depends on how well these goals can be satisfied at one and the same time.

The free lecture is open to the general public. No tickets are required. Previous Landis lecturers have included author Isaac Asimov; television journalist and former Texas state district judge Catherine Crier; B. Gentry Lee, space-systems engineer and science fiction novelist; and Alden Meyer, director of government relations of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Friedman became foreign affairs columnist on the Times’ Op-Ed page in January 1995. Previously, he served as chief economic correspondent in the newspaper’s Washington bureau since January 1994. Before that, from November 1992 to December 1994, he was chief White House correspondent. He was chief diplomatic correspondent from January 1989 to November 1992.

For his coverage of the Middle East, Friedman was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting (from Israel) and the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting (from Lebanon).

He has also received the 1987 New Israel Fund Award for Outstanding Reporting From Israel; the 1985 Marine Corps Historical Foundation Award for writing on the history of the Marines; the 1984 New York Newspaper Guild Page One Award; the 1982 George Polk Award; the 1982 Livingston Award for Young Journalists and the 1980 Overseas Press Club Award.

Friedman was born in Minneapolis on July 20, 1953. He graduated from Brandeis University summa cum laude in 1975 with a degree in Mediterranean studies, having studied abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the American University in Cairo. He then attended St. Antony’s College of Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship. After receiving a master’s degree in modern Middle East studies from Oxford in 1978, he joined the London Bureau of United Press International (UPI). Friedman spent a year in London doing general assignment reporting before being dispatched to Beirut as a UPI correspondent.

Friedman lived in Beirut from June 1979 to May 1981, when he was hired by The New York Times and brought back to New York. 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 became The New York Times Beirut Bureau Chief, a post he assumed six weeks before the Israeli invasion.

In June 1984, Friedman was transferred from Beirut to Jerusalem, where he served as Israel Bureau Chief until February 1988, when he was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship to write a book about his reflections on the Middle East. In June 1989, he published From Beirut to Jerusalem, which was on The New York Times best-seller list for nearly 12 months, and won the 1989 National Book Award for non-fiction and the 1989 Overseas Press Club Award for the Best Book on Foreign Policy. The book has been published in ten different languages, including Japanese and Chinese, and is now used as a basic textbook on the Middle East in many high schools and universities.

In January 1989, Friedman took up a new assignment in Washington as chief diplomatic correspondent for the Times. For the next four years he traveled some 500,000 miles, covering Secretary of State James A. Baker III and the end of the Cold War.

In November 1992, Friedman shifted to domestic politics and was appointed chief White House correspondent. He covered the transition and first year of the Clinton Administration. In January 1994, he shifted again, this time to economics, and became the Times’ international economic correspondent, covering the intersection of foreign policy and trade policy.

Friedman lives in Bethesda, Md., with his wife, Ann, and his two daughters. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University and a member of the advisory board of the Marshall Scholarship Commission. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Brandeis University, Macalester College, Haverford College, and Hebrew Union College. He is a recipient of the New Israel Fund Award for Outstanding Reporting from Israel.

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