Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Fri 12/9

Image - Senator George Mitchell and Alon Sachar

Senator George Mitchell and Alon Sachar: How the Next U.S. President Should Handle Israel and Palestine

Date: Fri, December 09, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Inside diplomacy in the Middle East

George Mitchell, Retired U.S. Senator (D-Maine); Former Senate Majority Leader; Former U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace; Co-author, A Path To Peace: A Brief History of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations and a Way Forward in the Middle East
Alon Sachar, Former Advisor, U.S. Ambassador to Israel and President Obama’s Special Envoys for Middle East Peace, George Mitchell and David Hale; Co-Author, A Path To Peace: A Brief History of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations and a Way Forward in the Middle East
In conversation with Jeffrey Bleich, Former U.S. Ambassador to Australia; Former Special Counsel to President Obama; CEO, Diplomatic Solutions, Dentons Law Firm

George Mitchell knows how to bring peace to troubled regions. The New York Times has called him “a diplomatic heavyweight." He was the primary architect of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement for peace in Northern Ireland. But when he served as U.S. special envoy for Middle East peace under President Obama from 2009 to 2011—working to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—diplomacy did not prevail. For the first time, George Mitchell will offer his insider account of how the Israelis and the Palestinians have progressed (and regressed) in their negotiations through the years and the new steps the United States and international community can take to encourage a peace agreement.

Alan Sachar served as an advisor to the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Daniel B. Shapiro, in Tel Aviv from 2011 to 2012 and to President Obama’s special envoys for Middle East peace, George J. Mitchell and David Hale, from 2009 to 2011. From 2006 to 2009, he served in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, focusing on the U.S. bilateral relationships with Israel and the Palestinians as well as Arab-Israeli relations. As a new U.S. administration is about to take power, hear from one of the world’s most astute statesmen and a top diplomatic advisor.

Mon 12/12

Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn

Date: Mon, December 12, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
The story of Israel

Daniel Gordis, Author; Israel Analyst; Commentator
Riva Gambert, Former Director, East Bay Israel Center; Director, East Bay International Jewish Film Festival

Dr. Gordis, a former Conservative rabbi, award-winning author of several books on Jewish thought and Israeli currents, and columnist for the Jerusalem Post, will discuss the topic of his latest book, which has been described as a luminous history shedding light on Israel's culture, politics and economy, so people can understand her future.

Gordis was the founding dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles before moving to Jerusalem, where he helped to found Israel's first liberal arts college. Presently, he is senior vice president and Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem.

Image - Tom Toles

Is Climate Denial Destroying Our Planet?

Date: Mon, December 12, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
It's undenable — or is it?

Renee Lertzman, Climate Engagement Strategist, Author; Speaker
Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology, Penn State University; Co-author, The Madhouse Effect
Cristine Russell, Freelance Science Journalist
Tom Toles, Political Cartoonist; Co-author, The Madhouse Effect

The majority of Americans agree climate disruption is a major concern. The Paris Climate Agreement has been ratified by 61 countries and counting, which so far represents 47.81 percent of the world’s emissions. So we all agree, climate change is the biggest problem humankind has ever faced? Not so fast.

Here in the United States, denial and confusion about the science is rampant, and we may be the only developed nation where it is written into a major political party’s platform. Climate scientist Michael Mann and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Tom Toles take a satirical look at how this lack of consensus came to be. Cristine Russell is a veteran science journalist with deep knowledge about conveying complex scientific issues to a broad public. How deep does climate doubt run, and how can communication help us move on to solutions?

Join us for a fun and informative look at manufactured doubt and genuine skepticism.

Image - Dale Dougherty

Makers of Innovation

Date: Mon, December 12, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
The maker movement

Dale Dougherty, Founder and CEO, Maker Magazine and Maker Faire; Author, Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing Our Schools, Our Jobs, and Our Minds
In conversation with Robert Stephens, Founder of Geek Squad

Today, many people who call themselves makers are geeks. Familiar with the ideas and practices of open source software, these hardware geeks are changing how we make things, where we make things and who gets to make them. However, the maker movement is moving beyond its geek contingency, just as personal computers once did, and is spreading out to engage more and more people. The maker movement is having considerable impact on business and education, emphasizing hands-on education and creative problem-solving. It is also introducing open, collaborative models around innovation that broaden participation in an innovation-driven economy. Join us for a conversation about making the future of innovation.

Dale Dougherty has been on the front lines of a worldwide renaissance of creating, designing, modifying, inventing and personalizing that is affecting all aspects of how we do business. In his new book, Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing Our Schools, Our Jobs, Our Minds, Dougherty acts as a tour guide to the spectacular, hope-filled global phenomenon that we now call the maker movement. In conversation with Robert Stephens, the founder of the Geek Squad, they will explore how the do-it-yourself movement approaches arts, crafts, science and engineering, changing us as a result.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour 12/12/16

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Holiday Social 12/12/16

Date: Mon, December 12, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Our year-end look at the politics of 2016 and what to expect in 2017

Mollie Reilly, Deputy Politics Editor, Huffington Post; Twitter
Steven Tavares, Founder of the Hyperlocal Government and Politics News Site, the East Bay Citizen; Twitter
James Taylor, Ph.D., Director of African American Studies and Professor of Political Science, University of San Francisco

Join us for a year-end political roundtable as we explore the biggest, most controversial and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil, and have a good sense of humor. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live news quiz!

And come early before 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). 

Tue 12/13

Image - Mae Jemison
This event is Sold Out

Astronaut Mae Jemison: Launching Women into Science and Tech

Date: Tue, December 13, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Getting Americans excited about science

Mae Jemison, M.D., Astronaut; Physician

Kimberly Bryant, Electrical Engineer; Founder and Executive Director, Black Girls Code—Moderator

 

Sponsored by Bayer Corporation as part of its award-winning Making Science Make Sense® program—a company-wide initiative that advances science literacy across the United States through hands-on science learning, employee volunteerism and public education.

Bayer logoPhysician and astronaut Dr. Mae C. Jemison is a science literacy advocate and the lead ambassador of the Bayer Making Science Make Sense program. The goal of the initiative is to provide 1 million hands-on science experiences to children by 2020. Dr. Jemison is particularly devoted to getting more girls, young women and minorities into careers in science, tech, engineering and math (STEM).

Join Dr. Jemison for an inspiring call-to-action on how to get Americans psyched about science!

Wed 12/14

Image - Dava Sobel

Dava Sobel: The Women Who Rocked the Cosmos

Date: Wed, December 14, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Meet the women who changed the way we see the universe

Dava Sobel, Former Science Reporter, The New York Times; Author, The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars
Becky Worley, Tech Contributor, "Good Morning America"—Moderator

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

Dava Sobel argues that in the 19th century, it was women and not male astronomers who actually made some of the great discoveries of the universe. In the mid-19th century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as calculators, or “human computers,” to interpret the observations made via telescope by their male counterparts each night. At the outset, this group included the wives, sisters and daughters of the resident astronomers, but by the 1880s the female corps included graduates of the new women's colleges—Vassar, Wellesley and Smith. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the ladies turned to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates. The “glass universe” of a half-million plates that Harvard amassed in this period—thanks in part to the early financial support of another woman, Anna Draper, whose late husband pioneered the technique of stellar photography—enabled the women to make extraordinary discoveries that attracted worldwide acclaim.

Come hear this captivating, little-known true story of a group of women whose remarkable contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe. Sobel is a noted author, and in addition to her work for The New York Times she has been a longtime science contributor to Harvard MagazineAudubonDiscoverLifeOmni, and The New Yorker.

Thu 12/15

Image - Dr. Naomi Oreskes

Dr. Naomi Oreskes: The 2016 Stephen Schneider Award

Date: Thu, December 15, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
6th annual Stephen Schneider Award winner

Naomi Oreskes, Ph.D., Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University 
Steven Chu, Ph.D., Professor of Physics and Molecular & Cellular Physiology, Stanford

Climate One presents Naomi Oreskes the 6th Annual Stephen Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication. According to Schneider Award juror Ben Santer, “Her 2004 Science paper helped to quantify, for the first time, the broad scientific consensus on climate change. Her recent research unmasked the forces behind denial of human effects on climate and improved our chances of having a responsible, science-based discussion of climate change solutions.”

Dr. Oreskes’ work first became well known when her paper “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” was featured in Al Gore’s seminal documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Later, she co-authored the influential book Merchants of Doubt, which explores the public-relations tactics used by the tobacco industry to obfuscate the health risks of smoking, and draws a parallel to the similar tactics used by the oil industry to forestall government action on climate change. This widely read book inspired a successful documentary of the same name.

The award was established in honor of Stephen Henry Schneider, one of the founding fathers of climatology, who died suddenly in 2010. Internationally recognized for research, policy analysis and outreach in climate change, Dr. Schneider focused on climate change science, integrated assessment of ecological and economic impacts of human-induced climate change, and identifying viable climate policies and technological solutions. He also consulted with federal agencies and/or White House staff in the Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. His work is chronicled at climatechange.net.

This special evening will include a conversation with Dr. Oreskes and other special guests in addition to a reception.

Mon 12/19

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, December 19, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Tue 1/3

Image - Hopkins Mansion on Nob Hill

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, January 03, 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.

Wed 1/11

Image - Doctor Ezekiel Emanuel
This event is Sold Out

Obamacare Architect Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: Transforming Health Care Post-ACA

Date: Wed, January 11, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
What next for Obamacare?

Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., Former Chief Health Policy Advisor to the Obama Administration; Chair, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania
In Conversation with Mark Zitter, Chair, The Zetema Project

Underwritten by The California Wellness Foundation.

As U.S. health-care costs continue to grow, supporters of the Affordable Care Act point to a dramatic drop in uninsured citizens, while critics highlight skyrocketing premiums. But the arguments over cost and access largely ignore the impact on the delivery of health-care services to patients. How are care delivery systems transforming to provide Americans with high-quality care at affordable prices? How will Republican efforts to repeal and replace the ACA influence the delivery system? In this wide-ranging conversation, Obamacare architect and noted health policy expert Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel will discuss the impetus for delivery reform during the Trump era and specific practices that enable highly effective care delivery.

Thu 1/12

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour logo

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour 1/12/17

Date: Thu, January 12, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Our first political roundtable of the new year!

Carson Bruno, Assistant Dean for Admission and Program Relations, School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University; Author, California Realpolitik Newsletter; Twitter  
Additional Panelists TBA

Join us for a new-year political roundtable as we explore the biggest, most controversial and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil, and have a good sense of humor. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live news quiz!

And come early before 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). 

Tue 1/17

A Neurologist's Insightful and Compassionate Look into the Misunderstood World of Psychosomatic Disorders

Date: Tue, January 17, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Is it all in your head?

Suzanne O'Sullivan, M.D., Consultant, Clinical Neurophysiology and Neurology, The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery; Former Consultant, Neurology, The Royal London Hospital

It's happened to all of us: our cheeks flush red when we say the wrong thing, or our hearts skip a beat when a certain someone walks by. But few of us realize how much more dramatic and extreme our bodies' reactions to emotions can be. Many people who see their doctors have medically unexplained symptoms, and in the vast majority of these cases, a psychosomatic cause is suspected. And yet the diagnosis of a psychosomatic disorder can make a patient feel dismissed as a hypochondriac, a faker or just plain crazy.

In Is It All in Your Head?, neurologist Dr. Suzanne O'Sullivan takes us on a journey through the world of psychosomatic illness, where we meet patients such as Rachel, a promising young dancer now housebound by chronic fatigue syndrome, and Mary, whose memory loss may be her mind's way of protecting her from remembering her husband's abuse. O'Sullivan reveals the hidden stresses behind their mysterious symptoms, approaching a sensitive topic with patience and understanding. She addresses the taboos surrounding psychosomatic disorders, teaching us that "it's all in your head" doesn't mean that something isn't real, as the body is often the stand-in for the mind when the latter doesn't possess the tools to put words to its sorrow. She encourages us to look with compassion at the ways in which our brains act out, and to question our failure to credit the intimate connection between mind and body.

Image - Jerry Kaplan

Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know

Date: Tue, January 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The future of AI

Jerry Kaplan, Entrepreneur; Author, Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know 
In conversation with John MarkoffNew York Times Technology Reporter

This program is generously supported by Accenture.

Over the coming decades, artificial intelligence will profoundly impact the way we live, work, wage war, play, seek a mate, educate our young and care for our elderly. It is likely to greatly increase our aggregate wealth, but it will also upend our labor markets, reshuffle our social order, and strain our private and public institutions. Eventually it may alter how we see our place in the universe, as machines pursue goals independent of their creators and outperform us in domains previously believed to be the sole dominion of humans. Jerry Kaplan is widely known as an artificial intelligence expert, serial entrepreneur, technical innovator, educator, bestselling author and futurist. He co-founded four Silicon Valley startups, two of which became publicly traded companies, and teaches at Stanford University.

Join Kaplan for an illuminating conversation about the future of artificial intelligence and how much humans should entrust to machines.

Wed 1/18

Image - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
This event is Sold Out

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen

Date: Wed, January 18, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Economic assessment from the Fed chief

Janet L. Yellen, Ph.D., Chair, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System; Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

Two days before the new U.S. president is sworn in, join us for a rare opportunity to hear an economic assessment from the head of the Fed.

Dr. Janet Yellen took office as chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in 2014, for a four-year term ending February 3, 2018. Dr. Yellen also serves as chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee, the country's principal monetary policymaking body. Prior to her appointment as chair, Dr. Yellen served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, while simultaneously beginning a 14-year term as a member of the board that will expire January 31, 2024. Dr. Yellen is professor emeritus of business and economics at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has been a faculty member since 1980. From 2004 through 2010 she served as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and previously chaired President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. Dr. Yellen holds a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and has written on a wide variety of macroeconomic issues, specializing in the causes, mechanisms and implications of unemployment.

Thu 1/19

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, January 19, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM
Walking tour

Explore San Francisco’s Financial District with historian Rick Evans and learn the history and stories behind some of our city’s remarkable structures, streets and public squares. Hear about the famous architects who influenced the building of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. Discover hard-to-find rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, unique open spaces and historic landmarks. This is a tour for locals, with hidden gems you can only find on foot!

Image - Carole Bayer Sager

Carole Bayer Sager: A Star-Studded Musical Journey

Date: Thu, January 19, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
A legendary singer dishes

Carole Bayer Sager, Grammy and Academy Award-winning Songwriter; Author, They’re Playing Our Song; Twitter

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

For five decades, Carol Bayer Sager has been among the most admired and successful songwriters. Her recognizable hits have included, “Nobody Does It Better,” “A Groovy Kind of Love,” “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and the theme from the movie Arthur, “The Best That You Can Do” (about getting lost between the moon and New York City). Get ready to hear stories about such celebrites as Peter Allen, Ray Charles, Celine Dion, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Clint Eastwood, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand.

Ms. Sager’s long relationship with composer Marvin Hamlisch was also the basis of the long-running hit musical, They’re Playing Our Song, for which she wrote the lyrics. And her work with composer Burt Bacharach, to whom she was also married for 10 years, produced pop standards such as “On My Own” and “That’s What Friends Are For” (inspired by her friendship with Elizabeth Taylor), which raised over $2 million for AIDS research.

Join us for an inside look at the dark and funny side of music and a personal story of inspiration.

Mon 1/23

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, January 23, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion group

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wed 1/25

Image - Brian Fishman

Terrorism Expert Brian Fishman: How Can ISIS Be Defeated?

Date: Wed, January 25, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
To defeat ISIS, you need to understand ISIS

Brian Fishman, Counterterrorism Research Fellow, New America; Fellow, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point; Author, The Master Plan: ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Jihadi Strategy for Final Victory 
In conversation with Kori Schake, Research fellow, Hoover Institution; Former Deputy Director, Policy Planning, U.S. State Department; Former Director, Defense Strategy and Requirements, National Security Council

To defeat ISIS, you need to understand ISIS.

Brian Fishman is a leading expert on ISIS. He served as the director of research at the United States Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center and began studying the progenitors of ISIS in 2005. He predicted the rise of the Islamic State in early 2011, prior to the Syrian civil war. Fishman says that the rise of ISIS was neither an accident of history nor an unpredictable product of chaos in Syria, but rather the fulfillment of a vision to capitalize on Syria’s demographic and geopolitical frailty, detailed in a plan that runs through 2020. He says that "master plan" offers important insight into how ISIS might now evolve. Fishman says that only by learning the Islamic State’s full history and the strategy that drove it can we understand the forces that could ultimately tear it apart. 

Fishman is a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Thu 1/26

Arts Forum Planning Meeting

Date: Thu, January 26, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Planning meeting

For those of you with a passion for the visual and performing arts, please join us in discussion as we explore ideas for future Club programs and exhibitions. The planning meeting is open to all Club members. Come with your ideas, and your willingness to take an active role in producing our 2017 calendar of events.