Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Thu 3/23

Image - San Francisco Ferry Building
This event is Sold Out

Waterfront Walking Tour

Date: Thu, March 23, 2017
Time: 1:45 PM
Walking tour

Join Rick Evans for his new walking tour exploring the historic sites of the waterfront neighborhood that surrounds the location of the future Commonwealth Club headquarters. Hear the dynamic stories of the entrepreneurs, controversial artists and labor organizers who created this recently revitalized neighborhood. This tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Image - Anthony Iton
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Zip Code, not Genetic Code: The California Endowment's 10 year, $1 Billion Initiative

Date: Thu, March 23, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Neighborhoods and health

Anthony B. Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH, Senior Vice President of Healthy Communities, The California Endowment; Former Director and County Health Officer, Alameda County Public Health Department; Former Director, Health and Human Services, and School Medical Advisor, City of Stamford, Connecticut

Where you live shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live, but it does. In many California cities, there is a 15– 20 year life expectancy difference between neighborhoods and that gap is growing. Despite all of the charged political rhetoric about repealing “Obamacare,” this life expectancy difference cannot be explained by lack of access to health care; in fact, research shows that health care is responsible for only about 15 percent of health status. When it comes to your health, your zip code is more important than your genetic code. Why?

Using data to study this phenomenon, Dr. Iton has concluded that we cannot address this problem through the traditional medical model. He and his colleagues at The California Endowment have designed a $1 billion, 10-year, multi-site initiative called Building Healthy Communities (BHC) which is designed to break the deadly link between zip code and life expectancy. BHC is based on the recognition that low-income Californians are often shrouded in a thick fog of unremitting chronic stress. Because of a legacy of racial and economic segregation, anti-immigrant policies and a host of other historical “isms," there are many communities in California where residents are mired in environments that conspire to injure their health. These environments lack basic health protective amenities like parks, grocery stores, decent schools, functioning transportation systems, affordable and decent housing, living wage jobs, and even potable water in some instances. In these environments, community residents are forced to constantly navigate multiple risks without the benefit of significant resources. These neighborhood and community environments are not natural, they are manmade and can be unmade.

Building Healthy Communities is an effort that enlists the very residents who have been the targets of exclusion, stigma and discrimination in remaking their environments through holding local, regional and state systems accountable for creating healthy and equitable community environments. The BHC theory of change is about building community capacity (increasing social, political and economic power and changing the narrative about health) to change policy and systems, in order to create healthy environments that will (over time) improve health status.

Six years into BHC, the results have been dramatic. Learn how the Building Healthy Communities model can help improve the health of our own communities and families.

Image - The White House

Trump's First 100 Days: Part Two

Date: Thu, March 23, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Evaluating the crucial first few months of the new administration

Mark Leno, Former California State Senator for San Francisco
Corrin Rankin, 2016 Republican National Committee Delegate; California Director, African Americans for Trump
Antonio Villaraigosa, Former Mayor, Los Angeles (2005–2013); Candidate for Governor
John Yoo, Law Professor, University of California, Berkeley; Former Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General
Marisa Lagos, Reporter, California Politics and Government, KQED—Moderator

How will President Trump’s 100-day action plan impact our domestic and foreign affairs, health care, education, environment, immigration, economic and trade policies? Who are the new people leading the country and how will they impact public policy? What role will all forms of media play as they cover the new administration? Join The Commonwealth Club and KQED for part two of a four-part series of programs that address the first 100 days of the Trump administration and how this period will shape America over the next four years and beyond. 

Mon 3/27

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Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, March 27, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Discussion group

This month's topic: Trump and the Middle East

The Middle East Forum discussion group, which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan, has been meeting monthly for about nine years. We are not a debate group.

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The Spring 2017 Report on the Sierra Nevada's Rain, Snowpack, Trees, Water, Ecosystems and Climate Change

Date: Mon, March 27, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Environmental check-in

Scott Tangenberg, Acting Forest Supervisor, Stanislaus National Forest
Patrick Koepele, Executive Director, Tuolumne River Trust
Michael Carlin, Deputy General Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Bob Kingman, Assistant Executive Officer, Sierra Nevada Conservancy

Join our distinguished panel for an up-to-date report on the Sierra Nevada mountains, habitats, water, rivers, trees, ground cover and the harsh economic impacts caused by fire, degradation and the cycle of climate changes. After the 2016-17 winter of rain and snowfall, where are we now in the climate cycle and the cycle of destruction, renewal and regrowth for our mountains, valleys, rivers and economies?

Image - P.J. O'Rourke
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P.J. O'Rourke: Has America Gone Crazy?

Date: Mon, March 27, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Making sense of the 2016 election

P.J. O’Rourke, H.L. Mencken Research Fellow, Cato Institute; Author, How the Hell Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016; Twitter
Melissa Caen, Political Analyst, CBS San Francisco; Twitter —Moderator 

P.J. O'Rourke says no comedian could have written the joke that the recent election cycle has been. As celebrated political satirist, journalist, and diehard Republican O’Rourke put it in his endorsement of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, “America is experiencing the most severe outbreak of mass psychosis since the Salem witch trials of 1692.” Come hear O'Rourke's uniquely humorous take on the election, on Donald Trump (whom he calls "Landlord of the Flies") and on America in 2017.

Tue 3/28

Image - Marty Brounstein

The Courage and Compassion to Do the Right Thing

Date: Tue, March 28, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM

Marty Brounstein, Author, Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage in the Holocaust

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Come hear a true interfaith story of courage, compassion and rescue during the Holocaust. A Catholic couple in the Netherlands, despite great risk and danger, helped save the lives of at least two dozen Jews from certain death during World War II. Brounstein will also explain the meaningful personal connection that inspires him to tell and retell the story of their heroic actions.

Image - Chris Hayes
This event is Sold Out

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: The Two Americas

Date: Tue, March 28, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
The colony and the nation

Chris Hayes, MSNBC Host, "All in with Chris Hayes"; Editor at Large, The Nation; Author, A Colony in a Nation; Twitter
In conversation with Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief, Mother Jones; Twitter 

Emmy Award–winning news anchor and New York Times best-selling author Chris Hayes argues that there are really two Americas: a colony and a nation. He says America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a post-racial world, but nearly every empirical measure—wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation—reveals that racial inequality hasn’t improved since 1968. Hayes contends that our country has fractured in two: the colony and the nation. In the nation, we venerate the law. In the colony, we obsess over order, fear trumps civil rights, and aggressive policing resembles occupation. He asks how and why did Americans build a system where conditions in Ferguson and West Baltimore mirror those that sparked the American Revolution? Come hear Hayes’ insights on the threats to American democracy and how to preserve justice.

Wed 3/29

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Inside the Country of Georgia: Meet Leaders Who Advocate Democracy on Russia’s Border

Date: Wed, March 29, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Learn about the country of Georgia

David Bakradze, Georgian Ambassador to the United States; Former State Minister, European and Euro-Atlantic Integration
Giorgi Cherkezishvili, Deputy Minister of the Economy
Dr. David Saganelidze, Head, Georgian Partnership Fund (Sovereign Wealth Fund); Former Majority Leader, Georgian Parliament; Member, Georgian Dream Party
Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club—Moderator

Located in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, Georgia is bordered to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, and to the south by Turkey and Armenia. Though formerly part of the former Soviet Union, it declared independence in 1991, and for more than 25 years, its government has been a representative democracy.

In 2008, Georgia had a five-day military confrontation with Russia over two provinces supported by Russia, which ended in a cease-fire agreement. Today, Georgia seeks strong economic ties with Silicon Valley and the U.S. Come hear from Georgia’s government representatives about this unique country as well as their thoughts on Russia, the region and the future of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance.

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LGBTQ Rights: What's at Stake?

Date: Wed, March 29, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Religious freedom laws and minority rights

Matt Haney, President, San Francisco Unified School Board
Mia Satya, Community Organizer, Social Justice Advocate, 2016 San Francisco Pride Grand Marshal
Rick Welts, President and Chief Operating Officer, Golden State Warriors
Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell (Ret.), Chair, Santa Clara County Jail Commission—Moderator 

What are the implications of potential executive orders and religious freedom legislation on the LGBTQ community and beyond? Hear from a diverse panel of leaders on what lies ahead in the current administration. This conversation is in partnership with San Francisco Pride.

Thu 3/30

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What Do Millennials Want in Their Portfolios, 401(k)s and Workplaces?

Date: Thu, March 30, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Millennials and investing

R. Paul Herman, CEO, HIP Investor Ratings + Portfolios; Author, The HIP Investor, Make Bigger Profits by Building a Better World
Timothy Yee, President, Green Retirement, Inc.
In conversation with Chinwe Onyeagoro, President, Great Place to Work Institute

With 70 million Millennials now the largest segment of the U.S. workforce, how do they stay satisfied in the workplace while companies build their bottom lines? With a trust-based workplace, Millennials thrive in their jobs, while companies can also outperform financially, according to Chinwe Onyeagoro of Great Place to Work. With a sustainable, fossil-free 401(k), Millennials are more engaged, innovative and can build a better world while saving for their future, according to Timothy Yee of Green Retirement, Inc. An HIP Investors' R. Paul Herman says that by going beyond traditional investing, Millennials can use their forthcoming $40 trillion of inherited wealth to improve the health, wealth, earth, equality and trust of our world via their investing. 

Learn how to unleash the excitement of Millennials in your workplace. 

About the Speakers 
R. Paul Herman is a globally recognized leader in impact investing, impact ratings and impact-themed portfolios. Herman founded HIP Investor 10 years ago to show that investments in companies that solve human, social and environmental problems can be more profitable and less risky than those that are extractive of people, natural resources and trust. HIP Investor rates more than 32,000 global issuers of stocks and bonds, and it also enables ratings of thousands of mutual funds and 401(k) plan fund choices. Herman is an alumni of Wharton, McKinsey, CSC Index, Ashoka and Omidyar Network. Herman is an advisor to SASB, Net Impact and Sustainable Brands. Herman authored The HIP Investor: Make Bigger Profits by Building a Better World, which is part of the curricula for 26 global MBA, MPA and university programs in finance, capital markets and innovation.

Chinwe Onyeagoro serves as president of Great Place to Work. She works with executives to successfully execute business strategy through developing high-trust, high-performance cultures. Her executive advisory work with Great Place to Work includes multi-billion dollar technology, telecom, financial services, and bio-pharma companies. She has worked for two top management consultancies (McKinsey & Company and The Monitor Group). She serves on the boards of private equity firms and lending institutions that have invested more than $1 billion in small and medium enterprises. She holds an A.B. in economics and East Asian studies from Harvard University and is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

Timothy R. Yee, AIF CPFA C(k)P, is the president of Green Retirement, Inc., a 100-percent minority-owned and 50-percent woman-owned 401(k)-focused financial advisory firm with a nationwide presence, and a deep focus on fossil free and socially screened investment options. The firm is a founding B Corp member and a California Benefit Corporation. Green Retirement has been recognized as one of the Best for World B Corps since 2014. Yee has led groups at Bank of America, NationsBank, T. Rowe Price, and AIG. He is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary, a certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor, a Certified 401k professional, and holds numerous FINRA registrations. Yee graduated with honors (cum laude) from the University of California Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

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Sharing the Nordic Experience: Creativity, Innovation and Equality

Date: Thu, March 30, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Learning from the Nordic region

Kirsti Kauppi, Ambassador of Finland to the U.S.
András Simonyi, Managing Director, Center for Transatlantic Relations, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Hilde Janne Skorpen, Consul General, Royal Norwegian Consulate

The Nordic countries are leaders when it comes to health care, environmental stewardship and education. In terms of gender equality, the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden the top four countries. The European Commission report shows that 94 percent of Finns, 90 percent of Swedes and 87 percent of Danes say they are satisfied with their health care. The Global Innovation Index ranked Sweden second last year, with all the Nordics solidly and consistently in the top 25. What explains these impressive figures?

During this program, Kirsti Kauppi, current Finnish ambassador to the U.S.; Ambassador András Simonyi of the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Transatlantic Relations; and Ambassador Hilde Janne Skorpen, Norway’s consul general, will take us on a journey through the Nordic region. They will share insights about their successes (where many other members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have struggled) as well as their challenges. We will also discuss current transatlantic relations from a northern European perspective.

Mon 4/3

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Reading Californians Book Discussion Group: Waiting for the Electricity by Christina Nichol

Date: Mon, April 03, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Book discussion group

Waiting for the Electricity by Christina Nichol begins in the republic of Georgia. The novel is about a humble maritime lawyer, Slims Achmed Makahvili. The Communists are long gone, but there are no jobs in the cities—and when there are jobs, employees aren’t compensated. When they are compensated, it’s because the jobs are . . . not strictly scrupulous.

Makahvili discovers an application for a small internship program sponsored by Hillary Clinton. His letters to her describe his eagerness to bring efficiency and opportunity to his homeland, replacing his friends’ and relatives’ decadence, lethargy and unsavory business practices. After Makahvili is chosen for the internship and finally arrives in America—in a utopian San Francisco—he decides his loud, bickering family and his anguished, joyful country no longer seem so grim.

The book has been described by author Norman Rush as a “triumphant, sustained, comic performance.” He adds: “I can’t recall a contemporary American novel anywhere near as funny.” The Wall Street Journal describes the book as “endearing and dryly hilarious.”

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Jane Goodall in Conversation with Jeff Horowitz and Greg Dalton

Date: Mon, April 03, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Protecting animals and their habitats

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute; U.N. Messenger of Peace
Jeff Horowitz, Co-producer, "Years of Living Dangerously"
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One

Perhaps the world’s most well-known advocate for the environment, Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and U.N. Messenger of Peace, has for much of her nearly six-decade-long career worked to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our planet. The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global, community conservation organization operating in more than 30 countries worldwide with a strong presence in Africa’s chimpanzee range. JGI’s approach to species conservation improves the lives of people, animals and the environment by honoring their interconnectedness. Goodall spends her time traveling around the world nearly 300 days a year, inspiring and mobilizing people with her twin messages of hope and action. 

Jeff Horowitz is founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners, a global nonprofit network dedicated to healing the climate by protecting forests, which absorb carbon pollution. He is also a co-executive producer of "Years of Living Dangerously," a National Geographic television series focused on the risks and opportunities of global climate change. In 2014, Horowitz accepted an Emmy for season one of "Years of Living Dangerously." The series was founded by legendary producers James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the late Jerry Weintraub. 

Join us for a conversation about reasons for hope, thoughts about the connection between deforestation and climate change, and the threat to environmental protection coming from Washington, D.C. 

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Sniffing, Swirling and Sipping: Decoding Wine with Bianca Bosker

Date: Mon, April 03, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
From tech journalist to wine expert

Bianca Bosker, Former Tech Journalist; Author, Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste

Learn to taste wine like a pro. Bianca Bosker shares her wit, wisdom and experiences navigating the world of wine. Bosker caught the wine bug while working as a reporter and executive tech editor for The Huffington Post. Trading her reporter’s pen for a spittoon, she embarked on a vinous quest to understand what drives wine obsessives. Going from neophyte to connoisseur over the course of a year, Bosker’s deep dive into the wine world featured tastings with top sommeliers, visits to winemakers in Napa and Sonoma, and intensive training for the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Certified Sommelier Examination. Along the way, there were adventures (and misadventures) in restaurant wine cellars and a visit to New York City’s annual homage to Burgundy, the La Paulée Festival.

Tue 4/4

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Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, April 04, 2017
Time: 1:45 PM
Walking tour

Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills.” Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the West Coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons, such as Leland Stanford, and other members of the Big Four. Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Stanford Court, and Huntington Hotel. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral, and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.

Image - Annie Jacobsen

Journalist Annie Jacobsen: ESP and the U.S. Government

Date: Tue, April 04, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The 40-year secret project to use psychics

Annie Jacobsen, Former Contributing Editor, Los Angeles Times Magazine; Author, Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis; Twitter
Barry Eisler, Novelist, Blogger, Former CIA Operative, Twitter —Moderator

Annie Jacobsen is an investigative journalist and best-selling author who writes about war, weapons, U.S. national security and government secrecy. Her Area 51 was an international best seller and The Pentagon’s Brain was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Now, she has written what she says is the definitive history of the military's decades-long investigation into mental powers and phenomena. Jacobsen says that for more than 40 years, the U.S. government has researched extrasensory perception, using it in attempts to locate hostages, fugitives, secret bases and downed fighter jets; to divine other nations' secrets; and even to predict future threats to national security. The agencies involved include the CIA, DIA, NSA, DEA, Navy, Air Force, Army and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Now, for the first time, Jacobsen tells the story of these radical, controversial programs, using never-before-seen declassified documents as well as exclusive interviews with more than 50 former CIA and Defense Department scientists, analysts and program managers, as well as the government psychics themselves. Come hear this unusual program that may challenge your own perceptions of reality.

Wed 4/5

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Love Letters: Not a Lost Art At All

Date: Wed, April 05, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Love letters as art

Janet Gallin, Host, Love Letters Live; Columnist, Examiner.com

In this two-thumb era of texting, we often gain the joy of immediacy, and sometimes the passion embedded in urgency. But we also lose something—from answering machines to a whole other world of snags.

The speaker will touch on the gripping history of letter writing and talk about why handwritten letters have unmatched power for the short term and for generations to come (as part of your history and legacy to your descendants). She will also discuss what counts as a love letter and how it feels to write and receive one.

Remember: What comes from the heart, enters the heart. Every love letter changes a life in some way. Dive in and let Gallin show you how to use the power lurking within.

Image - White House
This event is Sold Out

Alyssa Mastromonaco: Running the Obama White House

Date: Wed, April 05, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Mastromonaco's life in politics

Alyssa Mastromonaco, Former Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Operations for President Barack Obama; Author, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House; President of Global Communications Strategy and Talent, A+E Networks; Contributing Editor, Marie Claire; Former Chief Operating Officer, Vice Media
Dan Pfeiffer, Vice President of Communications and Policy, GoFundMe; Former Senior Advisor for Strategy and Communications for President Barack Obama; Current Contributor, CNN; Co-host, "Pod Save America"Moderator

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Join INFORUM for a candid discussion with Alyssa Mastromonaco—and learn what it’s like to be an insider in the competitive world of politics and media. Mastromonaco will answer questions about Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House, her memoir documenting her career to date as a national political operative and communications expert.

Mastromonaco spent nine years working for President Barack Obama, where she oversaw the planning and setup of presidential events, the hiring of presidential personnel and all Oval Office operations. Early in President Obama’s political rise, Mastromonaco established herself as an integral member of President Obama’s inner circle, helping Obama with key decisions (such as selecting Joe Biden as his running mate)—with lots of lessons learned along the way.

After leaving the White House, Mastromonaco shifted her focus to the global media landscape as COO of Vice Media, helping the company grow its powerhouse brand. Mastromonaco’s book includes stories about her ascension to Washington, D.C.’s political power list and also provides insightful advice for young women who are looking to make their mark on the world.

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Ben Franklin Circles

Date: Wed, April 05, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Ongoing Ben Franklin forum

Join us monthly, every first Wednesday, for a 21st-century version of Ben Franklin’s mutual improvement club. One evening a week, for more than 40 years, the founding father discussed and debated with his friends the 13 virtues that he felt formed the basis for personal and civic improvement, a list he created when he was 20 years old. The virtues to which he aspired included justice, resolution and humility (but don't misunderstand Ben on that one—his explanation of humility was "imitate Jesus and Socrates").

Ben Franklin Circles bring people together to discuss the most pressing philosophical and ethical issues of our time with the goal of improving ourselves and our world.