• Thomas Friedman (Photo by Josh Haner, The New York Times)
    Thomas Friedman (Photo by Josh Haner, The New York Times)

Southwestern University’s 2012 Shilling Lecture will feature Thomas Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times. The lecture will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Robertson Center.

Friedman will speak about “That Used to be Us,” which is the topic of his latest book, co-written with Michael Mandelbaum − That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World We Invented and How We Can Come Back.

Friedman has won three Pulitzer Prizes, and according to Foreign Policy magazine, “Friedman doesn’t just report on events; he helps shape them.” Vanity Fair called him “the country’s best newspaper columnist,” and he has been named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report.

Friedman is the author of several bestselling books, including Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolutionand How It Can Renew America, The World is Flat, Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism, The Lexus and the Olive Tree and From Beirut to Jerusalem, which serves as a basic text on the Middle East in colleges and universities nationwide and won the National Book Award.

The Shilling Lecture Series at Southwestern University was established in 1999 by The Brown Foundation Inc. of Houston to honor Southwestern’s 13th president, Roy B. Shilling Jr., and his wife, Margaret. The series brings to campus internationally prominent speakers on topics relating to ethics, public service and public policy. Past speakers include Blake Mycoskie, Bill Foege, Wangari Maathai, Bill Bradley, James Baker III, Thomas Kean, Benazir Bhutto, Desmond Tutu, Bill Moyers, President Jimmy Carter, Marian Wright Edelman, William Sloane Coffin, John McGuire and Karen Hughes.

This year’s lecture is being made available to the public at no charge thanks to a grant from Southwestern’s food service provider, Sodexo. Tickets for the general public may be reserved beginning Feb. 1 at http://www.southwestern.edu/about/shilling/request.php. Tickets may be picked up at the box office on the evening of the event. The box office will open at 5 p.m. with the doors for the lecture opening at 6 p.m.

Several pre-lecture events have been planned, including an alumni forum on global citizenship and a screening of the documentary “Flaw,” which tells the story of the credit bubble that caused the financial crash of 2008.

The screening of “Flaw” will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 4 p.m. in Olin 110. Made by international award-winning documentary maker David Sington, the film presents an original and compelling account of the toxic combination of forces that nearly destroyed the world economy through interviews with some of the world’s leading economists, including housing expert Robert Shiller, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and economic historian Louis Hyman.

The alumni forum will be held on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 4 p.m. in Olin 105. Featured panelists include:

  • Maggie Hawthorne, a 2002 graduate who earned a Masters in Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University and is now a program officer with the Institute of Medicine’s Board on Global Health;
  • Farhana Mahmood Qazi, a 1996 graduate who is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies on Terrorism; and
  • Tim Trevino, a 1993 graduate who is Senior Director of Strategic Planning and Agency Communications for the Alamo Area Council of Governments and a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Good Neighbor Environmental Board, which advises the President and Congress on good neighbor practices along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Members of Political Science Professor Shannon Mariotti’s Contemporary Democratic Theory and Introduction to Political Theory Classes this semester are reading Friedman’s columns in the New York Times each week and posting their thoughts on a blog that can be found at http://theoryandfriedman.wordpress.com/about/