Geopolitical Summit to host Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman

One of the country’s leading thinkers, New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman, headlines this year’s Geopolitical Summit, “Rediscovering America?” The summit begins at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, in the Graham Center Ballrooms.

The 2012 summit will focus on the crisis posed by the global economic recession. Friedman’s lecture will be followed by a teach-in with FIU faculty members from the School of International and Public Affairs and the College of Law. The panel will respond to Friedman’s comments and offer a critique of his argument.

Friedman is a three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, twice for international reporting on his coverage of the Middle East and also for distinguished commentary following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. He has authored five bestselling books, including The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, winner of the 2000 Overseas Press Club Award for best book on foreign policy.

In his new book, That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, Friedman argues that current paralysis of the U.S. political system and the erosion of key American values have made it impossible to carry out the policies the country urgently needs. The book, coauthored with Johns Hopkins University foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum, spells out what needs to be done to sustain the American dream and preserve American interests in the world.

“Our goal is to provide the FIU community with a world class speaker – Thomas Friedman – who has coauthored a book that analyzes the current global economic upheaval and, significantly, provides a road map for U.S. recovery,” said Professor John Stack, director of the School of International and Public Affairs. “He is arguably the most important international journalist of the day.”

At 3 p.m., a panel of FIU foreign policy experts will discuss Friedman’s book and his lecture. The teach-in will feature professors Shlomi Dinar, Paul Kowert and Judith Stiehm of Politics & International Relations; Alan Gummerson and Cem Karayalcin of Economics and Jose Gabilondo from the College of Law.

The Geopolitical Summits began in 2009 with the opening of FIU’s School of International and Public Affairs. It has since become one of FIU’s signature events, bringing distinguished intellectuals such as Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Fareed Zakaria and Bruce Babbitt to campus.

“The summits provide students, faculty and members of the community with the opportunity to think about the challenges of globalization facing the United States and the world by bringing diverse and compelling perspectives by major scholars and thinkers,” Stack said.

Tickets are required for Friedman’s lecture and the teach-in. They will be distributed free of charge, on a first-come basis from Monday, Feb. 6 – Thursday, Feb. 9 at the FIU Bookstore on MMC and BBC during normal operation hours. An FIU identification is required to obtain tickets.