Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman to lecture at Fairfield University on the Middle East


Image: Thomas FriedmanThree-time Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Thomas L. Friedman will deliver the Bank of America lecture in Judaic Studies at Fairfield University on Wednesday, October 20, at 8 p.m. at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The event, sponsored by Bank of America, is a program of the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield University, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Friedman, veteran foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times and an expert on issues related to the Middle East, will discuss, "The Middle East: An Update on Changing Events."

In lucid commentary that is both pointed and poignant, Friedman has challenged the existing power structures within the Middle East and the strictures that have prevented a viable plan for peace. Friedman brings with him a wealth of knowledge related to the Middle East and other geo-political issues. Graduating summa cum laude from Brandeis University in 1975, he continued his academic career at St. Antony's College, Oxford University, where he earned a Master of Philosophy degree in Modern Middle East Studies. After receiving his master's, Friedman joined United Press International, working out of its London Bureau before being sent as a correspondent to Beirut in 1979.

Friedman began his tenure at The New York Times in 1981, as a general assignment financial reporter dealing with oil-related news. From 1982 to 1989, he worked as Beirut bureau chief and then Israel bureau chief for the Times.

Friedman continued his travels when he was promoted to chief diplomatic correspondent, covering then Secretary of State James A. Baker. After a brief stint as chief White House correspondent from 1992 to 1994, Friedman began to tackle issues regarding trade policy and foreign policy as international economics correspondent until January 1995, when he was awarded his current position as foreign affairs columnist for the Times.

In addition to numerous articles, Friedman is also the author of two books: "From Beirut to Jerusalem" (1989), which was honored with the National Book Award for non-fiction, and "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" (1999), which won the Overseas Press Club's Cornelius Ryan Award for best non-fiction book on foreign policy. Of his three Pulitzer Prizes, two were won for international reporting from Lebanon and from Israel in 1983 and 1988, respectively. Friedman received his third and most recent Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary in 2002. His most recent book, "Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism," (2002) is a New York Times bestseller.

"His writing is vastly descriptive, very educational, and marvelously persuasive," comments David P. Snider, editor of Library Journal. "His advice to U.S. diplomats is that since 'Middle East diplomacy is a contact sport,' they must bargain as grocers, or, in other words, realize that everything has a price and the sale can always be made with enough hard work."

The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies is honored to have such a renowned expert presenting a lecture on one of the most turbulent areas in the world. Now celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the Center in Judaic Studies at Fairfield University was created in 1993 as a result of a generous gift made by Carl and Dorothy Bennett of Greenwich, Conn. and their children. The Department of Judaic Studies has offered an interdisciplinary minor since 1996 to students fascinated by a study that incorporates theological, historical, and cultural perspectives on Judaism and its changing role over the past 4,000 years.

"I can't think of a better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic studies than to have Tom Friedman with us," said Ellen Umansky, Ph.D., director of the Judaic Studies Program at Fairfield University and the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor of Judaic Studies. "We are honored to have this internationally renowned expert on the Middle East speak at this critical juncture in history."

Tickets are $35 and will be available for sale to the general public beginning September 20 at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. A special fundraising dinner with Thomas Friedman, which will benefit the Judaic Studies program, will be held prior to the lecture. For information about the dinner, call the Office of Special Events at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2660. For information about other opportunities to support Judaic Studies, please contact Judaic Studies at Fairfield University at (203) 254-4000, ext 2066.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 15, 2004

Vol. 37, No. 30