Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thomas Friedman at GW - Thursday Night and Students Still Showed Up

While I know that Thomas Friedman's speech to the GW community this Thursday has already been covered, I think it was good enough to cover twice. Speaking to an almost completely filled Lisner Auditorium, the 3 time Pulitzer Prize winning author and NY Times columnist gave his perspective on the world today and the future. Now I don't always read his Sunday column and have not yet read the new version of his book Hot, Flat, and Crowded, but I did read The World is Flat. The guy is smart. That's as simple as I can say it. He is scary smart. Not only is he smart enough to investigate and write about topics like the world economy, and other impending disasters, but he does it in a manner that seems simple. His speaking style is jovial, often funny, and he is able to convey his brilliant and complex thoughts in a way that does not sound academic and easy to understand.

In his 90 minute speech he covered many topics but did have a few overall messages. What I found most interesting were two things, his views on America's role as a world leader in the future and how the world is going to change, depending on Americas role. Like the IT revolution of the 80's and 90's he is calling the next one, "ET," the energy revolution. By changing the way we use energy, we can fix most of our problems. It seems to be the linchpin. He claims that while the so called "green movement" is a good start, its not a revolution, it's a "party." Not until the word green carries no meaning will we truly be living in a green world. This is the key to returning America to global power and prestige.

While GW gets a lot of famous speakers and guests, and I attend as many as I can, they are usually not the most engaging. Thomas Friedman however certainly was. He was able to capture the attention of what looked like a little less than thousand students in a hot auditorium. His topics were relevant to our lives and his stories meaningful. I highly recommend going to see him speak if you ever get the chance.

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