Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Wed 4/16

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion - The Arabian Nights: Tales from A Thousand and One Nights

Humanities West Book Discussion - The Arabian Nights: Tales from A Thousand and One Nights

Date: Wed, April 16, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Lynn Harris, Moderator

Join us to discuss the Richard F. Burton translation of the classic tales from Baghdad's Golden Age. These are the tales about Aladdin, Sinbad and Ali Baba that saved the life of Shahrazad, whose husband, the king, executed each of his wives after a single night of marriage. Beginning an enchanting story each evening, Shahrazad always withheld the ending, and a thousand and one nights later, her life was spared forever. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion. 

Image - Stephen Palumbi: The Extreme Life of the Sea

Stephen Palumbi and Anthony Palumbi: The Extreme Life of the Sea

Date: Wed, April 16, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Director of Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford

Stephen R. Palumbi, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Director of the Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University; Co-author, The Extreme Life of the Sea
Anthony Palumbi, Writer; Co-author, The Extreme Life of the Sea

Stephen Palumbi, one of today’s leading marine scientists, and his son Anthony, a writer, take us on an adventure to the absolute limits of the aquatic world – the fastest and deepest, the hottest and oldest creatures of the oceans, diving into the icy Arctic and boiling hydrothermal vents all while exposing the eternal darkness of the deepest undersea trenches to demonstrate how marine life thrives against the odds. He also discusses how ocean adaptations can inspire innovative commercial products – such as fan blades modeled on the flippers of humpback whales – and how climate change and overfishing could pose the greatest threats yet to our planet's tenacious marine life.

Thu 4/17

Image - Changing the Way We Die

Changing the Way We Die

Date: Thu, April 17, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
An eye-opening conversation about our choices.

Fran Smith, Author, Changing the Way We Die; Blogger, Psychology Today
Sheila Himmel, Author, Changing the Way We Die; Blogger, Psychology Today

Is there really such a thing as a good death? How can people facing death live fully in the time they have left? Smith and Himmel are prize-winning journalists and former colleagues at The San Jose Mercury News whose fathers’ deaths propelled them to explore these questions and the nation’s $17 billion hospice industry. More than 1.5 million Americans a year die in hospice care – 44 percent of all deaths – yet most patients come in too late to get the full benefits. As 76 million baby boomers turn 65, commercialization by for-profit hospices threatens to undermine the hospice philosophy of compassionate, comprehensive, patient-driven care. Smith and Himmel examine the shifting attitudes and practices around death and dying, through the stories of patients, families, doctors and the corporate giants that increasingly own this “market.” What choices can each of us make now to get the best care possible when the time comes? How can we prepare to help those we love to die on their own terms? Join an eye-opening conversation about what you need to know before you need to know it.

Image - Lincoln’s Words of Freedom

Fred Martin: Lincoln’s Words of Freedom

Date: Thu, April 17, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A new perspective on American history.

Fred Martin, Author, Abraham Lincoln’s Path to Reelection in 1864: Our Greatest Victory; Former Senior Vice President and Director, Governmental Affairs, Bank of America

Lincoln was a political genius whose words powered victory. Self-taught with only rudimentary education, Lincoln’s words and his logic sprang from his moral and ethical convictions. Just as he had educated himself, he led the populace step by step, with his writing and his speeches, through the challenges facing the nation. Learn anew how Lincoln forged a pathway to victory, and gain a new perspective on American history for today’s world.

Image - It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

Date: Thu, April 17, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
danah boyd, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research  

danah boyd, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research; Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University; Fellow, Harvard's Berkman Center; Author, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

In conversation with Laura Sydell, Correspondent, National Public Radio

Youth culture and technology expert danah boyd will discuss her ground-breaking research regarding the major myths about how teens use social media and, in turn, the truths about identity, privacy, safety, danger and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity. Join danah boyd for an engaging discussion on an important topic that she says is too often driven by hearsay instead of facts.

Mon 4/21

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 4/21/14

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 4/21/14

Date: Mon, April 21, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
A must-attend political discussion.

Martin G. Reynolds, Senior Editor, Community Engagement and Training, Bay Area News Group/Digital First Media; Co-founder, Voices; Twitter @newsmojo and @reynoldspost
Larry Gerston, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, San Jose State University; Political Analyst, NBC Bay Area; Author, Not So Golden After All: The Rise and Fall of California; Twitter @lgerston 
Melissa Griffin Caen, Political Analyst, "Mornings with Melissa," CBS SF; Political Writer, San Francisco Magazine; Attorney; Twitter @melgriffincaen
John Zipperer, Vice President of Media & Editorial, The Commonwealth Club — Host

California's electing new leaders this year, and issues like income inequality and affordability are dominating the headlines. Week to Week will take a look at the issues and the people in local, state and national politics. In its first two years, Week to Week has become a must-attend political discussion and social event. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events and our news quiz!

And stay after the program to meet other smart and engaged individuals and discuss the news over snacks and wine at our member social (open to all attendees). 

Image - Shakespeare in Prisons

Shakespeare in Prisons

Date: Mon, April 21, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM
Marin Shakespeare Company's Lesley Schisgall Currier  

Lesley Schisgall Currier, Founder and Managing Director, Marin Shakespeare Company

"I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself king of infinite space... were it not that I have bad dreams." Hamlet eloquently distinguishes between a physical prison and the prison of the mind. The U.S. has the largest percentage of population incarcerated of any first-world nation. Where is the line between punishment and rehabilitation? Do prisoners deserve arts programs? How does Shakespeare serve as a tool for personal transformation? Societal transformation? Shakespeare in Prisons explores art, society and morality.

Image - A Man and His Mountain

A Man and His Mountain

Date: Mon, April 21, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Edward Humes, Winner, Pulitzer Prize; Author, A Man and His Mountain: The Everyman who Created Kendall-Jackson and Became America's Greatest Wine Entrepreneur 

In conversation with Barbara R. Banke, Chairwoman, Jackson Family Wines; Widow of Jess Jackson

Jess Stonestreet Jackson was a self-made billionaire who built the Kendall-Jackson empire into a best-selling brand of super premium wines in the U.S. - all after the age of 50. Jackson Family Wines is one of the last remaining family-owned winery groups and owns and operates more than 35 individual wineries in California and around the world. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Humes and Jess’s widow and Kendall-Jackson Chairwoman Barbara Banke will tell the story of this amazing man and his influence on the California wine industry. Kendall-Jackson will conduct a wine tasting after the event.

Tue 4/22

Image - Robots In The Classroom (MLF)

Robots In The Classroom

Date: Tue, April 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Interacting with robots in ways prior generations couldn't imagine.

Elad Inbar, CEO, RobotsLAB
Vikas Gupta, CEO, Play-i
Sheena Vaidyanathan, Computer Science Teacher, Los Altos School District
Tina Barseghian, Senior Editor, MindShift, KQED – Moderator

Robots are making inroads in a wide variety of industries, with particularly interesting applications in the field of education. Both as a means of instruction and as an emerging discipline, today's students are interacting with robots in ways that prior generations couldn't even imagine. In this panel, experts will discuss the implications, benefits and risks associated with robots in the classroom

Image - His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland

His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland

Date: Tue, April 22, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
People and Ice: The New Significance of the Arctic and the Himalayas
People and Ice: The New Significance of the Arctic and the Himalayas
On Earth Day 2014, join us for a special program with the president of Iceland. A member of the Arctic Council, Iceland is at the forefront of those nations in the North feeling the environmental effects brought on by climate change. While the melting polar ice cap has potential broad negative consequences for the world’s oceans, sea levels and climate, at the same time it increases the potential for commercial and economic activity in the Arctic region. The president will speak both about the challenges and the opportunities. His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson has been Iceland’s president since 1996 and is currently serving his fifth elected term in office. He has had a long and illustrious career in public service, which includes receiving the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize.

Wed 4/23

Image - Carrie Schwab Pomerantz: The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances After 50

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz: The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances After 50

Date: Wed, April 23, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, President, Charles Schwab Foundation; Author, The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances After Fifty

Mary Huss, Publisher, San Francisco Business Times  –  Moderator  

Introduction by Lois Kazakoff, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, San Francisco Chronicle

Join Schwab-Pomerantz as she shares answers to the dizzying array of financial questions plaguing those who are moving into the phase of life where growing and protecting assets is paramount. Becoming financially literate at every stage of life is critical and Carrie will address how to educate yourself, prioritize your financial needs, anticipate family, health and housing challenges, and tackle the money issues head-on with a plan for the decades ahead.

Schwab-Pomerantz and her team have been helping clients tackle their toughest money issues for decades. Through Carrie’s popular “Ask Carrie” columns, her leadership of the Charles Schwab Foundation, and her work across party lines through two White House administrations and with the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, she has become one of America’s most trusted sources for financial advice. Carrie will answer all your questions and help guide you to financial fitness after age 50!

Image - Latino/a Culture, Heritage and Conservation for the Environment

Latino/a Culture, Heritage and Conservation for the Environment

Date: Wed, April 23, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Explore this community's history of conservation.

Adrianna Quintero, Senior Attorney; Director, Latino Outreach, Natural Resources Defense Council
Gary Segura, Professor of American Politics and Chair of Chicano/a Studies, Stanford University
Anita Martinez, Retired College Educator; Environmentalist; Community Health and Safety Activist

Most people don't automatically label Latinos and Latinas as environmentalists. A deeper look at family, home and community values reveals a long-standing generational commitment to conservation and the wise use of everyday resources in daily life. California's changing demographics all point to a tremendous potential for local, national and worldwide political environmental progress as we listen and learn about the conservation practices of our Latino and Latina families and communities.

Image - LGBT MLF Planning Meeting

LGBT MLF Planning Meeting

Date: Wed, April 23, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

This is the monthly planning meeting for members and friends of the LGBT MLF.

Thu 4/24

Image - 21st Century Challenges to the Inter-American Human Rights System

21st Century Challenges to the Inter-American Human Rights System

Date: Thu, April 24, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Lawrence Gumbiner, Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative, U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States

In recent years, recurring human rights violations have threatened the stability of democracies throughout the Americas. Preventing such abuses is critical to the region’s political, economic, and social advancement – yet many challenges to doing so exist. Gumbiner will discuss how human rights defenders, both in the government and civil society organizations, can address these challenges and advance democracy and human rights in our hemisphere.

Image - Chinatown Walking Tour
This event is Sold Out

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, April 24, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM

This program is sold out

Enjoy a Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure. Join Rick Evans for a memorable midday walk and discover the history and mysteries of Chinatown. Explore colorful alleys and side streets. Visit a Taoist temple, an herbal store, the site of the first public school in the state, and the famous Fortune Cookie Factory. 

Image - Diversity and Accomplishment: Celebrating Assyrian Contributions to Bagh

Diversity and Accomplishment: Celebrating Assyrian Contributions to Baghdad's Golden Age

Date: Thu, April 24, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Nicholas Al-Jeloo, Ph.D. in Syriac Studies

From 762 until the Mongol conquest in 1258, Baghdad was the center of the Islamic, Christian and Jewish worlds, home to the Abbasid Caliphate, a major Christian patriarchate and the Jewish exilarchate. It is often forgotten that though Arab Muslims ruled, they were not originally in the majority. At Baghdad's House of Wisdom, Arabic translations of Greek, Mesopotamian, Persian and Indian medicine and philosophy were rare indeed. Most were translated directly into Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic), the language of ethnic Assyrians, whose religious leaders, scientists, physicians and philosophers made invaluable contributions which influenced Baghdad's intellectual institutions and shaped Islamic civilization itself.

Fri 4/25

Image - LGBT Rights in Israel: 25 Years of Progress and Challenges

LGBT Rights in Israel: 25 Years of Progress and Challenges

Date: Fri, April 25, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Arthur Slepian, Executive Director and Founder, A Wider Bridge

Donny Inbar, Ph.D., Associate Director of Arts and Culture, Jewish Community Federation's Israel Center - Moderator

Having enacted LGBT anti-discrimination protections in 1992 and home to an open and vocal LGBT-rights movement, Israel's stance on equality is radically different from many of its neighbors. How has Israel become a place where LGBT people have a level of equality and visibility unlike anywhere else in the Middle East? Slepian, the founder of A Wider Bridge, which helps the LGBT community and allies build deeper connections with Israel, serves on the board of the Jewish Community Federation (S.F. Bay Area) and on the SF Jewish Community Relations Council.

Mon 4/28

Image - Middle East Discussion Group

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, April 28, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East. Each month, the Middle East Member-Led Forum hosts an informal roundtable discussion on a topic frequently suggested by recent headlines. After a brief introduction, the floor will be open for discussion. All interested members are encouraged to attend. There will also be a brief planning session.

Image - New Member Reception 4/28/2014

New Member Reception 4/28/2014

Date: Mon, April 28, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Learn about all The Commonwealth Club offers.

Are you new to the Club? Just want to explore and check it out? Come take a peek, meet other members and staff and learn about all The Commonwealth Club offers. Experience firsthand how The Commonwealth Club has become the nation’s leading public forum. Bring a friend and explore the Club together!

Tue 4/29

Image - On the Green Beat in the Developing World — Internews

On the Green Beat in the Developing World — Internews

Date: Tue, April 29, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Media and the future of environmentalism in developing countries

Liu Lican, Journalist, China
Gustavo Faleiros, Journalist, Brazil
Imelda Abano, Journalist, Philippines
Michael Simire, Journalist, Nigeria
James Fahn, Executive Director, Internews' "Earth Journalism Network" – Moderator

Home to 80 percent of the world's population, the fastest growing economies and most of our remaining biodiversity, the developing countries of the world are key to our planet's environmental future. Even more than in the U.S., the countries’ local media plays a crucial role in framing the debates over environmental issues and challenges, promoting behavior changes and occasionally swaying policies. Come hear the views of these highly respected and experienced leading environmental journalists about the current possibilities of environmental failure or progress in China, Brazil, the Philippines, Nigeria and other developing countries.