Upcoming Events

Thu 5/5

Image - M. Gerald Schwartzbach

A Candid Window into the American Criminal Justice System

Date: Thu, May 05, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

M. Gerald Schwartzbach, Author, Leaning on the Arc

Nationally renowned criminal defense attorney M. Gerald (Gerry) Schwartzbach, best known for winning the acquittal of actor Robert Blake, has written Leaning on the Arc. Mr. Schwartzbach argues that true justice can only happen when we refuse to objectify a criminal defendant—whether it is Robert Blake, civil rights activist Stephen Bingham, transplant surgeon Hootan Roozrokh, or anyone else. Actor/writer Peter Coyote has written that Leaning on the Arc is a “fascinating book packed with great tales of injustice subverted by intelligence and passion.”

Image - Lord Nicholas Stern and Steve Westly

Lord Nicholas Stern and Steve Westly on the Economics of Dropping Fossil Fuels

Date: Thu, May 05, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair, Center for Climate Change Economics and Policy, London School of Economics
Steve Westly, Founder and Managing Partner, The Westly Group

Carbon pollution has recently dropped despite continued growth of the global economy. Supporters of clean energy cheered that news, and say it demonstrates that combatting climate change can be accomplished without massive economic pain. Was the decoupling of economic growth and carbon pollution just because of China’s slowing economy and temporary dip in coal use? What areas of the clean economy are most promising for investors and job-seekers?

Lord Nicholas Stern is former chief economist of the World Bank and one of the foremost global experts on moving from fossil fuels to cleaner energy. When world leaders signed the historic Paris climate accord last year, Lord Stern was cheering in the front, row standing alongside Al Gore.

Steve Westly leads a venture capital firm that made early investments in Tesla and the biofuel firm Anyris. It currently holds a position in Good Eggs, Planet Labs, Revolution Foods, RecycleBank, WaterSmart, and other companies pursuing more sustainable capitalism. Steve Westly was an early executive at eBay and is a former controller of the state of California.

Mon 5/9

Image - Robert Lustig

Food Addiction 2.0

Date: Mon, May 09, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Michael Prager, Author, Fat Boy Thin Man
Nicole Avena, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Florida
Robert H. Lustig, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, UCSF
Eric Stice, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Oregon Research Institute
Vera Ingrid Tarman, MD., MSc., FCEP, CASAM, Medical Director, Renascent
Elissa Epel, Ph.D., Associate Professor, UCSF Department of Psychiatry
Ashley Gearhardt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan

This program is an update from our previous Food Addiction program; all panelists will offer updated information.
Addiction is about brains, not just about behaviors. We all have the brain reward circuitry that makes food rewarding; it’s a survival mechanism. In a healthy brain, these rewards have feedback mechanisms for satiety or "enough." For some, the circuitry becomes dysfunctional such that the message becomes "more." Michael Prager, author of Fat Boy Thin Man, will begin the discussion telling his very personal story of recognizing and then seeking treatment for his food addiction. Leading researchers and clinicians will discuss many aspects of this important topic. 

Image - Caroline Webb

How Behavioral Science Can Help Us Have a Good Day

Date: Mon, May 09, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Caroline Webb, CEO, Sevenshift; Former Partner and Advisor, McKinsey; Author, How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life

Whether we have a good day or not depends partly on things we can’t control—perhaps there’s a crisis unfolding or our colleagues are cranky today. But behavioral science shows us that many things that seem “fixed” or “random” can be surprisingly strongly influenced by our own actions, once we understand just a little about how the brain works. Caroline Webb demonstrates how tiny tweaks to our daily routines can transform our experience of what happens around us, the number of hours in the day, our level of intelligence and even other people’s moods. With this kind of powerful insight in your back pocket, you can change your “luck” and put many more good days within reach.

Image - The Commonwealth Club of California

Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your Parents.

Date: Mon, May 09, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM

This regular discussion group explores new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older. Not only will we be uncovering interesting new products at the intersection of aging and technology, we also will be conducting a series of ongoing deep-dive discussions into topics such as brain health, apps for seniors, hearing and wearables for seniors. The results of our discussions will be shared with a larger community of older adults interested in improving their quality of life through our partner in this initiative, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC. The discussions will be facilitated by Dr. Richard Caro, whom many of you have heard speak at prior Grownups forum events.

Image - Spain in Our Hearts

Spain in Our Hearts

Date: Mon, May 09, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Adam Hochschild, Author, Spain in Our Hearts

Monday Night Philosophy follows award-winning author Adam Hochschild deep into the three crucial years in the 1930s when the Spanish Civil War dominated headlines in America and around the world. Volunteers rushed to help Spain’s democratically elected government fight off an uprising by right-wing army officers heavily backed by Hitler and Mussolini. Adam Hochschild brings alive a group of men and women who lived through this painful and dramatic period: a few are familiar figures like Hemingway and Orwell; others, until now, have been completely unknown.

Image - Charles Duhigg
This event is Sold Out

Charles Duhigg: The Science of Productivity

Date: Mon, May 09, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize-winning Reporter, The New York Times; Author, Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business and The Power of Habit
Farhad Manjoo, Technology Columnist, The New York Times—Moderator

In his new book Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg presents eight key points that illustrate the reasons that some people and some companies are more productive than others.

Coupling statistics from neuroscience and psychology coupled with real-world stories from CEOs, FBI agents and airplane pilots, Duhigg explains how the most productive people and organizations view the world and their choices differently and how this ultimately influences their heightened levels of productivity.

Join INFORUM for a thought-provoking discussion with Duhigg about the science of productivity and learn how you can be more productive and successful in your personal and professional lives.

Tue 5/10

Image - Jeremy Scahill

Jeremy Scahill: The Government's Secret War with Drones

Date: Tue, May 10, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Jeremy Scahill, Investigative Reporter; Co-founder, The Intercept; Author, The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program; Twitter  
Barry Eisler, Novelist; Blogger; Former CIA Operative—Moderator

Bestselling author Jeremy Scahill and his colleagues at the investigative website The Intercept reveal what they call stunning new details about America’s secret assassination policy.

When the U.S. government discusses drone strikes publicly, the implicit message from the Obama administration has been characterized as "trust, but don’t verify." The Intercept called this into question when it obtained a cache of secret slides that provide a window into the inner workings of the U.S. military’s kill/capture operations in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. These documents raise serious questions about the central role that assassination plays in counterterrorism policy.

Wed 5/11

Image - Gamelan Degung

Lecture-demonstration: The Gamelan Degung Ensemble of West Java

Date: Wed, May 11, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Henry Spiller, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Music, University of California Davis
UC Davis Gamelan Ensemble, with guest artist Burhan Sukarma

The development of a musical ensemble consisting of tuned bronze percussion instruments, drums, and a bamboo flute, collectively called degung, mirrors the turbulent history of West Java, Indonesia, where it originates, as well as changes in the Sundanese culture that dominates the region. Several selections performed by the eight-person UC Davis Gamelan Ensemble, joined by guest artist Burhan Sukarma—a renowned virtuoso on suling (bamboo flute)—will illustrate this exploration of Indonesian history as reflected in musical style and repertory.

Image - The Commonwealth Club of California
This event is Postponed

Stop Elder Fraud: Seniors and the Law

Date: Wed, May 11, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM

David G. Knitter, Attorney

David Knitter marks the month of May as Abuse Prevention Month for Seniors and Vulnerable Persons by presenting a program based on their informative "Seniors & the Law" guide. The program also will include how the state bar can help protect consumers who have a problem with their lawyers, a problem that can be of particular concern to the elderly and their adult children.

Image - Willie Brown: Annual Lecture on Political Trends
This event is Sold Out

Willie Brown: Annual Commonwealth Club Lecture

Date: Wed, May 11, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Willie Brown, Former Mayor, San Francisco; Former Speaker, California State Assembly

Former San Francisco Mayor Brown will give his annual lecture on national and regional political trends. A two-term mayor of San Francisco, legendary speaker of the California State Assembly, and widely regarded as one of the most influential African-American politicians of the late 20th century, Brown has been at the center of California politics, government and civic life for an astonishing four decades.

Image - Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson: How to Speak the TED Way

Date: Wed, May 11, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Chris Anderson, TED Curator; Author, TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking
Jenny Dearborn, Chief Learning Officer, SAP—Moderator

What makes a great speech? Anderson shares his unique public speaking philosophy about creating carefully crafted talks.

Learn more helpful dos and don’ts from the man who has worked with everyone, including Bill Gates, Arianna Huffington, social activists, and Nobel Prize Winners.

Thu 5/12

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walking Tour

Date: Thu, May 12, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM

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 - Clair Brown

Creating Quality of Life in a Sustainable Global Economy

Date: Thu, May 12, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Maximilian Auffhammer, Ph.D., George Pardee Jr. Professor in Sustainable Development, Associate Dean of Social Sciences, University of California Berkeley
Clair Brown, Ph.D., Professor of the Graduate School, Economics; Director, Center for Work, Technology, and Society, University of California Berkeley
Maria Kei Oldiges, Candidate, Master of Development Practice, College of Natural Resources, University of California, Berkeley; Formerly Development Associate and Executive Assistant, Presidio Graduate School

Following the successful Paris climate talks, nations are crafting policies to mitigate global warming. Building sustainable economics that provide a high quality of life for everyone is a challenge that must be accomplished in a few decades. Join our distinguished panel from the University of California Berkeley in a discussion of how to live meaningfully in a healthy, sustainable, and equitable global economy.

Image - Sea Heroes

Sea Heroes: Extreme Edition

Date: Thu, May 12, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Liz Taylor, President, DOER Marine
Peter Willcox, Author, Greenpeace Captain: My Adventures in Protecting the Future of Our Planet
Stiv Wilson, Director of Campaigns, Story of Stuff

This is a Good Lit event, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Peter Willcox was captain of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior on the night in 1985 when it was bombed by French secret agents and sank off New Zealand. One shipmate was killed.

Last year, a French agent who attached the mines to the hull of the Rainbow Warrior apologized for his deadly act. Does Peter Willcox accept the apology?

The bombed ship is just one of the Greenpeace captain’s adventurous tales. in 2013 he was part of a crew captured by Russian commandos and imprisoned for protesting an oil drilling platform in international waters. He has braved forest-burning slave owners in the Amazon, exposed international conspiracies involving diamond-smuggling, gun-trading and Al-Qaeda, and risked exposure to nuclear waste.

Liz Taylor is pursuing a different kind of sea adventure. Her company, DOER Marine, is working with a research organization founded by her mother, famed ocean explorer Sylvia Earle, to build mini-submarines to explore the furthest reaches of the oceans. The program, funded by Eric Schmidt, intends to enhance public understanding of the most remote regions of the oceans. The company was also involved in efforts to study the impact of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and does other work for the oil and gas industry.

Stiv Wilson has worked on campaigns to ban plastic bags and water bottles as well as microbeads. He’s sailed over 35,000 nautical miles to four of the five oceanic "garbage patches," documenting and communicating maritime plastic pollution first-hand.

This program presents an evening of stories from the high seas confronting power, taking personal risks and creating new understanding of our shared oceans.

Fri 5/13

Image - Sanford Levinson

Rereading The Federalist in the 21st Century

Date: Fri, May 13, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Sanford Levinson, Professor of Government and the John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas-Austin; Author, An Argument Open to All: Rereading The Federalist in the 21st Century

In An Argument Open to All, renowned legal scholar Sanford Levinson takes a novel approach to what is perhaps America’s most famous political tract. Rather than concern himself with the authors as historical figures, or how The Federalist helps us understand the original intent of the framers of the Constitution, Levinson examines each essay for the political wisdom it can offer us today. In 85 short essays, each keyed to a different essay in The Federalist, he considers such questions as whether present generations can rethink their constitutional arrangements; how much effort we should exert to preserve America’s traditional culture; and whether The Federalist’s arguments even suggest the desirability of world government.

Image - Brexit

Brexit: What Happens if the UK Leaves the European Union?

Date: Fri, May 13, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California Berkeley
Doug Rivers, Professor of Political Science, Stanford; President and CEO, YouGov/Polimetrix
Richard Waters, West Coast Editor, Financial Times—Moderator

The outcome of the June 23 “Brexit” referendum will decide whether the United Kingdom leaves or stays in the European Union. What would their exit mean for the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States and the world?

Join our expert panel to examine the economic, political and social attitudes of UK voters toward the European Union. What are the possible consequences of a victorious “remain” or “leave” vote on the British government, economy, immigration policy, as well as the referendum’s likely effects on the EU and international community? 

Sat 5/14

Image - Oscar de la Renta dress

Private Docent Tour of Oscar de la Renta: the Retrospective

Date: Sat, May 14, 2016
Time: 2:45 PM

This world-premiere retrospective celebrates the life and career of one of the world’s most influential fashion designers. Including more than 130 pieces produced over five decades, the garments are organized into thematic sections: early work; Spanish, Eastern, Russian and garden influences; daywear and eveningwear; and ball gowns and red carpet ensembles. The special exhibition traces the rise of de la Renta’s career in Spain; his formative years in the world’s most iconic fashion houses; and his eventual role as a designer for many of the most influential and celebrated personalities of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Mon 5/16

Image - The Commonwealth Club of California

Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club

Date: Mon, May 16, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM

All interested Club members are welcome to attend our bimonthly, one-hour planning meetings of the International Relations Member-Led Forum. We focus on Europe, Latin America, Africa and worldwide topics. Join us to discuss current international issues and plan programs for the rest of 2016.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour 5/16/16

Date: Mon, May 16, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Political discussion with Carla Marinucci and Bill Whalen, plus a social hour and news quiz

Melissa Caen, Political Analyst, CBS SF; Attorney; Twitter
Bill Whalen, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; Twitter  
Additional Panelist TBA

We'll 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).