Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman

In partnership with the Sydney Opera House and the US Studies Centre, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and acclaimed author Thomas Friedman speaks at the Melbourne Town Hall. A long-standing and influential commentator on the Middle East and global affairs, the best-selling author discusses the trends that will shape the future. He’s joined by veteran journalist turned politician Maxine McKew.

Friedman begins with an extended presentation. Key topics covered include:

  • Friedman starts out by clarifying why US domestic politics are so central to its adventures in foreign policy

  • the American dream and why it is now ‘in play and in peril’

  • a reading from his latest book (co-authored with Michael Mandelbaum), That Used to be Us: What Went Wrong With America? And How it Can Come Back, describing everyday signs and comparisons that signal the nation’s struggle to keep up with new powers like China

  • the four great challenges facing his country

  • hyperconnectedness’, a term that figures prominently in the journalist’s discussions of pervasive media and information transfer - tools which have found their way to even the most remote locations on Earth

  • how information systems affect labour markets and collapse our traditional understanding of here and there, developed and developing. 'The round world is over,' he declares. 'We’re now in the flat world'

  • 'skills bias polarisation' and the competitive advantages of being 'creative non-routine'

  • our need to 'find the extra' in ourselves – and explains how that may mean we need to think like an immigrant, an artisan and a waitress

Following his presentation, Friedman is joined on stage in conversation with journalist and former politician Maxine McKew. Key topics covered include:

Friedman closes his appearance by reiterating his opening point: that in order to progress, America must look inward.


Portrait of Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman

Journalist, columnist and author Thomas Friedman has been one of the world’s most influential media figures for over a decade. In his twice-weekly New York Times column he’s written widely on issues of trade, geopolitics and the environment. He’s published several books and has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times.

Portrait of Maxine McKew

Maxine McKew

Maxine McKew is an author and Hon Enterprise Professor of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.

Her most recent book, published by Melbourne University Press in 2014, is Class Act – a study of the key challenges in Australian schooling. This publication followed the success of her memoir, Tales From the Political Trenches, an account of her brief but tumultuous time in the Federal Parliament. 

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