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Jeff Weber
College of Arts and Sciences

Last modified: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

'World is Flat' author Thomas Friedman to headline IUís Themester 2010

Indiana University's second-annual themed semester to focus on sustainability

April 14, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington will explore the concept of sustainability through the university's second-annual themed semester, Themester 2010, "sustain•ability: Thriving on a Small Planet."

Headlining Themester 2010 is Thomas Friedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and best-selling author of The World is Flat and Flat, Hot and Crowded, who will speak at IU Auditorium Nov. 4. The event is free and open to the public, as are all on-campus Themester events.

Other events include a talk by 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize recipient Sir Harold Kroto, who will deliver the Konopinski Lecture, and an array of events, exhibits, plays, invited speakers, service-learning activities, panels and lectures, all of which relate to the central topic of sustainability.

The College launched the themed semester initiative in the fall of 2009 as a vehicle to engage students, faculty and community members in research and discussion on a single, multilayered topic. Themester will include a curriculum bundle of more than 200 undergraduate and graduate courses from across College departments and IU Bloomington schools. Courses range from "Religion, Ethics and the Global Environment," taught by the College's Department of Religious Studies, to "Ecosystem Management" in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

This year's Themester will include a key partnership with the IU Office of Sustainability, as well as partnerships with academic and administrative units across campus and throughout the community.

The goal of Themester 2010 is to catalyze IU's emerging leadership in sustainability, providing students and faculty with an opportunity to begin the interdisciplinary work needed to create sustainable communities locally and around the world, and creating educational opportunities for students that they will carry far into the future.

Bloomington's Cardinal Stage Company will collaborate with Themester in its season-opening production, Frank Galati's celebrated adaptation of John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (Sept. 3-26).

Teaching workshops and performances for Monroe County Community School Corp. students will be offered in conjunction with the production. These workshops and performances are made possible by a donation from journalist Jane Pauley, an IU alumna, and her husband, Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau. The donation will underwrite teacher training, student tickets and costs of transporting the students to the performances.

"We are extremely fortunate, in this year of budget cutbacks, to have forward-thinking, generous supporters like Jane Pauley and Garry Trudeau," said David Zaret, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "It is donors like them and Don and Ellie Knauss -- who supported Themester last year and have been very generous again this year -- that enable us to continue to provide this excellent program that engages thousands of people both on and off campus."

Don Knauss, the 2009 recipient of the College's Distinguished Alumni Award, is president and CEO of the Clorox Co., which in 2009 was named one of Newsweek's "Greenest Big Companies in America."

An opening festival is planned for Friday, Sept. 10, in Dunn Meadow.

Themester is organized by the College of Arts and Sciences with a faculty committee that this year is chaired by Geological Sciences Professor Michael Hamburger.

Friedman's talk is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences with additional support from Union Board, the School of Journalism, the Kelley School of Business, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the Office of the Provost and the Center for the Study of Global Change. Sir Harold Kroto's Konopinski Lecture is sponsored by the Department of Physics.

For additional information, see or contact Themester coordinator Jeff Weber at