In his latest book, "That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back," Thomas L. Friedman makes recommendations for meeting four major challenges currently facing the United States: globalization, the information technology revolution, chronic deficits and unbalanced energy consumption.
He offers a wake-up call to collective action and, unless we don't, he believes it will soon be too late for us to pass along the American dream to future generations.
Friedman is the second speaker Wednesday, Feb. 29 in the 2011-2012 Distinguished Speakers Series at The University of Texas-Pan American. His presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium.
The Rio Grande Valley community is invited to hear Friedman, who is an internationally renowned author, reporter and columnist. He is the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and author of five bestselling books including "From Beirut to Jerusalem," "The World is Flat," and "Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - and How It Can Renew America."
Friedman is a foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times and a frequent guest on programs such as Meet the Press, Morning Joe and Charlie Rose. His TV documentaries, Searching for the Roots of 9/11, The Other Side of Outsourcing, Straddling the Fence and Addicted to Oil, have aired on the Discovery Channel.
Along with having won three Pulitzer Prizes, in 2004 Friedman was awarded the Overseas Press Club Award for lifetime achievement as well as the honorary title, Order of the British Empire (OBE), by Queen Elizabeth II. The Wall Street Journal ranked Friedman the second most influential business thinker in 2008 and U.S. News and World Report named him one of "America's Best Leaders." Friedman served as visiting lecturer at Harvard University in 2000 and 2005 and holds honorary degrees from Brandeis University, Macalester College, Haverford University, the University of Minnesota, Williams College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Washington University in St. Louis and Hebrew Union College.
In its eighth year, the Distinguished Speakers Series offers students and the University community the opportunity to hear and engage speakers of the highest caliber who both inform and inspire. The series is underwritten by student fees, as recommended by the Student Affairs Advisory Committee. A Distinguished Speakers Committee composed of faculty, staff and students select speakers who represent a variety of world views and backgrounds.
Past speakers have included former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, former TV news anchor Dan Rather and former Egyptian first lady Jehan Sadat.
The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. Doors will open at 7 p.m. for UTPA students, faculty and staff with a valid UTPA ID and at 7:20 p.m. for the general public. If you are unable to attend, you can view the presentation live at www.utpa.edu/live.
The speaker series concludes April 3 with an evening featuring longtime, Emmy-winning TV host Larry King.
The University is holding an essay contest for students to select a group to meet Friedman. The contest forms and rules can be found here.
Entries must be typed and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20. Only currently enrolled students are eligible to enter.
For more information or special accommodations, call (956) 665-7989.