Childhood & Early Life
Thomas Friedman was born on July 20, 1953 in Minneapolis, to Harold and Margaret Friedman. He has two older sisters; Shelly and Jane.
He attended Hebrew school until his ‘Bar Mitzvah’. He then studied at St. Louis Park High School, where he wrote articles for his school’s newspaper. He was enamored by Israel after a trip to the country in 1968.
From a very young age, he wanted to become a professional golfer and even was a transport assistant at a local country club in 1970.
He studied at the University of Minnesota and then at Brandeis University from where he graduated with a degree in Mediterranean Studies, in 1975. After graduating from there, he studied at St. Antony’s College at the University of Oxford.
He earned an M. Phil in Middle Eastern studies from the university, while he was studying there on a Marshall scholarship.
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He joined the London bureau of United Press International and was dispatched after a year to Beirut where he lived from 1979 to 1981, to cover a war.
He was finally recruited by ‘The New York Times’ in 1981 and was again sent to Beirut at the beginning of the 1982 to cover Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.
In 1984, he was transferred to Jerusalem where he was appointed as the Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the next four years.
He authored one of his best-selling books, ‘From Beirut to Jerusalem’ in 1989. In the next couple of years, he extensively covered Secretary of State, James Baker during the running of U.S. President, George H.W. Bush.
In 1992, after Bill Clinton was sworn in as President, he was made the ‘Times’ White House correspondent. Two years later, he penned more written works on economics and foreign policy and appeared as the foreign affairs correspondent for ‘The New York Times’, the next year.
In 1999, he authored the book, ‘The Lexus and the Olive Tree’, in which he has given his opinions on globalization.
Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, he began channeling his energies on writing more about the Middle East and terrorism. He was presented with several awards this year for his extensive coverage of the situation and his columns, all of which was collected and published in the book, ‘Longitudes and Attitudes’, which released the following year.
In 2002, he met Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and personally asked him to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, following which the prince proposed the ‘Arab Peace Initiative’.
He was an ardent supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and stated that the formation of a self-governing state in the Middle East would make sure that other countries nearby would ease up and look for reform.
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From 2003 to 2007, he created a number of documentaries including ‘Searching for the Roots of 9/11’, ‘The Other Side of Outsourcing’, ‘Does Europe Hate Us?’, ‘Addicted to Oil’, ‘Green: The New, Red, White and Blue’.
He penned one of his greatest works, ‘The World is Flat’, in 2005, which served as an addition for the initial book, ‘The Lexus and the Olive Tree’.
In 2008, he wrote, ‘Hot, Flat, and Crowded’, a book that suggested answers on global warming and ways for the United States to recover financial importance in the world.
In 2010, he wrote a number of columns supporting the politics of deep-seated centrism. The subsequent year, it was stated that, President Obama ‘sounded out’ Friedman vis-à-vis the concerns in the Middle East. The same year he authored, ‘That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back’.
Awards & Achievements
He won the Pulitzer Prize for his extensive coverage of the war in Lebanon for the category of ‘international reporting’ in 1983.
In 1988, he won the Pulitzer Prize for ‘reporting on international affairs’ for his coverage of Israel.
He won the Pulitzer Prize for the third time in 2002 for his coverage on the worldwide impact of terrorist threat.
In 2005, he was made the member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.