World trade is focus of Thompson Forum finale

Pietra Rivoli
Pietra Rivoli

Economist and author Pietra Rivoli will share her views about the economics, history and politics of world trade on April 12 in the final lecture of this season's E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues.

Rivoli, a professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, will present "Who's Afraid of International Trade?" at 7 p.m. in the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

The lecture also is this year's Lewis E. Harris Lecture on Public Policy, which honors the founder of Harris Laboratories, a longtime international leader in laboratory services that was based in Lincoln. The annual lecture examines major public policy issues and provides an opportunity for students and the business and academic communities in Nebraska to interact.

Rivoli will draw from her book, "The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy," in which she traces the origins of a souvenir shirt. The American Association of Publishers named it the best scholarly book of 2005. It has been translated into 14 languages and a second edition was published in 2009.

As Rivoli points out in her writing, what starts on a cotton farm in Texas moves to the other side of the world, with products then returning to the United States and other markets, said Michael James, chairman of UNL's Department of Textiles, Clothing and Design.

It's important to recognize that we are part of a system that has given us a high standard of living and that has had many benefits, said Hendrik van den Berg, a UNL professor of economics.

"So how can we make this work?" he said. "We have to get away from this urge to just focus on one aspect at a time. ...We have to be very careful. We are in a very complex economic and social system today."

Rivoli's lecture is the sixth and final in this season's lecture series, organized around the theme of "Globalization's Promise."

To reserve free tickets, call the Lied Center at (402) 472-4747 or (800) 432-3231. Tickets may also be picked up in person or ordered by downloading a form from the forum's website,

Thompson Forum lectures are available live online at, as well as on Lincoln TimeWarner Cable Channel 21 or 5, NETSAT 105, UNL campus Channel 8 and UNL's KRNU radio (90.3 FM). Live satellite broadcasts and follow-up discussion will be available in Kearney, Hastings, Columbus, McCook, North Platte, Omaha and Scottsbluff.

The series is a cooperative project of the philanthropic Cooper Foundation, the Lied Center and UNL. It was established in 1988 to offer all Nebraskans a better understanding of world events and issues.

- Jean Ortiz Jones, University Communications

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