Thomas Friedman's Headshot

Thomas Friedman

NY Times columnist, best-selling author of The World is Flat - Panelist Blurb

Thomas Friedman is one of the countries most distinguished and influential columnist and writer. His works range from Middle East Conflict to fundamentalism and terrorism to globalization and worldwide economic issues to domestic politics. He has won three Pulitzer Prizes and has had 4 bestselling books, most recently, The World is Flat, currently a #1 bestseller. His New York Times columns are always thought provoking, influential yet practical. When events in the country and around the world are too menacing to comprehend, when foreign affairs and policy seem complicated and clouded by politics, the American public looks to Tom Friedman for straight talk, thoughtfulness and reliable information. He has been called "The country's best newspaper columnist."

Friedman joined the New York Times in 1981 and was appointed Beirut bureau chief in 1982. In 1984 he was transferred from Beirut to Jerusalem, where he served as The Times' Israel bureau chief until 1988. After being awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship to write a book about his reflections on the Middle East, he published From Beirut to Jerusalem. It was on the New York Times Best Sellers 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. From Beirut to Jerusalem has been published in ten different languages, and is now used as a basic textbook on the Middle East in many high schools and universities. For his coverage of the Middle East, Mr. Friedman was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting (from Lebanon) and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting (from Israel).

In January 1989 Friedman became The Times' Chief Diplomatic Correspondent. 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 was appointed Chief White House correspondent. He covered the transition and first year of the Clinton Administration.

In January 1994 Friedman shifted again, this time to economics, and became The Times' International Economic Correspondent. And in 1995 he became the Foreign Affairs Columnist. In April 1999 he published another major book, The Lexus and The Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, which won the 2000 Overseas Press Club award for best nonfiction book on foreign policy. It has been published in 20 languages.

Friedman's book, Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism, is a collection of his Pulitzer Prize-winning, post-9/11 columns from the New York Times, plus a selection from his personal diaries. In 2002, he was awarded The Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary, his third Pulitzer, for his work as The New York Times Foreign Affairs Columnist.

In 2003, Friedman produced two documentaries, "The Other Side of Outsourcing" (on the growing trends of outsourcing American jobs to India) and "Straddling the Fence" (on the impact of the wall separating Palestinians and Israelis) which aired on the Discovery Channel.

Born in Minneapolis on July 20, 1953, Friedman received a B.A. degree in Mediterranean studies from Brandeis University in 1975. In 1978 he received a Masters degree in Modern Middle East studies from Oxford. Friedman is married and has 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, Macalester, Haverford, and Hebrew Union College.

NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum program from April 5, 2006.