Thomas Friedman will speak on campus

Best-selling author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman will speak on campus next semester, the University announced Friday.

Friedman will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 21, but the location of the “lecture” and information regarding tickets is not yet available, Assistant Vice President for communications Sarah Baldassaro said. The event will be free and open to the GW community.

The topic of Friedman’s visit will be his most recent book, titled “Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How It Can Renew America.” In the book, Friedman says the U.S. lost its national focus after 9/11 and he advocates for Americans to embrace clean energy and green technology.

The book is part of this year’s Freshman Reading Program, a challenge from Dean of Freshmen Fred Siegel to the class of 2013 to read the book over the summer and write responses to it as part of an essay contest. Twenty-eight students were chosen as winners.

Baldassaro said that though Friedman’s lecture – which will include a question and answer section – is the main focus of his trip to campus, he will also likely meet informally with the winners of Siegel’s essay contest.

Baldassaro said that the University’s contractual agreement with Friedman prevented her from disclosing if, or how much, the University is paying Friedman to speak.

In 2006, Siegel asked the then-freshman class to read another Friedman book, titled “The World is Flat.” Friedman has won three Pulitzer Prizes.

Last April, a female Brown University student and a man threw two green pies at Friedman as he began his speech at the university. The student later said she was protesting Friedman’s brand of environmentalism.

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