Thomas L. Friedman, a native of Minneapolis, graduated summa cum laude in 1975 with a degree in Mediterranean Studies from Brandeis University. On a Marshall Scholarship, he studied at Oxford University's St. Antony's College and later earned a master's degree in Middle East studies from Oxford in 1978.
After a year as a general assignment reporter in the London bureau of United Press International (UPI), Friedman was transferred to UPI's Beirut bureau as a correspondent from 1979-1981.
The New York Times hired Friedman in 1981, transplanting him in New York as a financial reporter. A year later, he found himself back in Beirut as the Times' Beirut bureau chief, from 1982-84, and subsequently became its Israel bureau chief from 1984-1988.
After winning a 1988 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship to write his first book, From Beirut to Jerusalem, Friedman was made chief diplomatic correspondent for the Times in 1989 and was appointed chief White House correspondent in 1992. He then served as international economics correspondent in 1994, and became foreign affairs columnist the following year.
For international reporting, Friedman won the Pulitzer Prize in both 1983 and 1988 and again in 2002 for distinguished commentary. In 2004, he was also awarded the Overseas Press Club Award for lifetime achievement.
His first book, From Beirut to Jerusalem (1989), won both the 1989 National Book Award and 1989 Overseas Press Club Award. He wrote three more over the next several years, including the text for a photography book by Micha Bar-Am called Israel: A Photobiography (1998). The others are The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (1999), which won him another Overseas Press Club Award in 2000, and his most recent work Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 (2002). He is currently completing a new book, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century.
Friedman has been a visiting professor at Harvard, earned honorary degrees from five universities and currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Brandeis University.
Thomas Friedman joined the Pulitzer board in 2004.