IF YOU GO
What: Thomas Friedman, part of George T. Hunter Lecture Series
Where: Tivoli Theater, downtown Chattanooga
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Source: Benwood Foundation
Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is set to speak Tuesday at the Tivoli Theatre, and organizers expect a large local reception, especially on the heels of the election.
More than 1,000 people are likely to attend, said Amy Carmichael, a spokeswoman for the event.
"It's pretty timely," she said. "He'll have a lot to say about the election."
The visit, which is part of the George T. Hunter Lecture Series, is funded by the Benwood Foundation and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The event is free and open to the public. Friedman's speech will begin at 7 p.m., but a line is expected to form long before then.
Friedman, a former international reporter, will speak about his most recent book, "That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back."
His popular other books include, "The World is Flat" and "Hot, Flat and Crowded," which advocates for clean energy and green technology industries. In his column last week, he chastised the Republican Party.
"The Republican Party today needs to have a real heart-to-heart with itself," he wrote in Wednesday's New York Times. "The GOP has lost two presidential elections in a row because it forced its candidate to run so far to the loony right to get through the primaries, dominated by its ultraconservative base, that he could not get close enough back to the center to carry the national election."
Lori Quillen, community program director for the Benwood Foundation, said she hopes people who come to hear Friedman will learn more about ideas for education and economic reforms that could help the U.S. regain its prowess.
"We try to get a range of speakers that can represent different views," said Quillen. "Coming the week after the election, I am sure he will have comments about what he will like to see with the next four years of Obama's administration."
Two more speakers will follow Friedman in this year's lecture series. MacArthur Fellow Will Allen will speak on arts and culture on Feb. 26, and National Public Radio's "This American Life" host Ira Glass will speak on April 7.
Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...