Upcoming Events

Mon 5/2

Image - Gray Rhinos
This event is Canceled

Gray Rhinos

Date: Mon, May 02, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Michele Wucker, Author, Gray Rhinos

Why has it been it so hard to recognize and act on the growing number of severe storms, floods and other climate-driven weather events? Climate change is a perfect example of a gray rhino: an obvious, high-impact risk that doesn't get the responses it deserves. Unlike its kin, the ignored elephant in the room and the unpredictable black swan, the gray rhino offers us a chance to respond.

This conversation offers strategies that can move citizens, organizations and policymakers from denial to action in future efforts to respond to climate change and its far-reaching consequences.

Tue 5/3

Image - The New Middle East

The New Middle East

Date: Tue, May 03, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Alan Mendoza, Ph.D., Director, Henry Jackson Society
Douglas Murray, Associate Director, Henry Jackson Society
Lenny Kristal—Moderator

Mendoza, a British politician and frequent contributor to international broadcast and print media, including Al Jazeera, is the founder of the Henry Jackson Society, a cross-party British think tank named after Senator Henry Jackson. Marray, is a British author, journalist. commentator and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and more.

They will look to explain how recent changes in the region have led to a new Middle East—one that is more unstable and dangerous, and that threatens global security.

Image - Larry Brilliant

Dr. Larry Brilliant, Chairman of Skoll Global Threats: Fighting Zika and Other Pandemics

Date: Tue, May 03, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Larry Brilliant, Chairman, Skoll Global Threats; Former Executive Director, Google.org; Twitter  
Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director, California Academy of Sciences—Moderator

How safe are we from an ebola, Zika, H7N9, or MERS outbreak? How can we prevent a bioterrorist attack or lab accidents? Public health expert Brilliant will discuss today’s growing pandemic risks.

Brilliant was the executive director of Google.org and chaired the Presidential Advisory Committee on Bio-Surveillance. He lived in India for more than 10 years working as a United Nations medical officer, where he played a key role in the success World Health Organization smallpox eradication program in South Asia. He also co-founded The Seva Foundation, an international NGO whose programs and grantees have given back sight to more than 3.5 million blind people in more than 20 countries.

Wed 5/4

Image – Dr Philip Zimbardo

Man Interrupted: Why Young Men Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It

Date: Wed, May 04, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM

Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D., Psychologist; Professor Emeritus, Stanford University; Author, Man, Interrupted: Why Young Men Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It

Dr. Zimbardo became well-known for his 1971 Stanford prison experiment and has since authored various introductory psychology books, textbooks for college students, and other notable works, including The Lucifer Effect, The Time Paradox, and Shyness. He is also the founder and president of the Heroic Imagination Project.

Dr. Zimbardo will speak about his research in developing his latest book Man, Interrupted: Why Young Men Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It.

Image - DJ Patil

United States Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil: Big Data and You

Date: Wed, May 04, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

DJ Patil, United States Chief Data Scientist
Elizabeth Dwoskin,  Silicon Valley Correspondent, Washington Post—Moderator

Big data’s role in our lives is increasing, whether we realize it or not. From influencing our health-care decisions to helping to make our streets safer, big data has changed the way that our government and the private sector are tackling some of today’s most complicated social and economic issues.

Join us in welcoming U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil to the INFORUM stage for a conversation about the benefits and controversies surrounding human-centered big data and how it affects us in our everyday lives. 

Image - Anthony Barnosky and Elizabeth Hadly

Anthony Barnosky and Elizabeth Hadly: Tipping Point for Planet Earth

Date: Wed, May 04, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
The grand challenge of the 21st century.

Anthony Barnosky, Principal Investigator and Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley; Co-author, Tipping Point for Planet Earth: How Close Are We to the Edge?
Elizabeth Hadly, Professor, Department of Biology, Stanford University; Co-authors, Tipping Point for Planet Earth: How Close Are We to the Edge?
Lisa Krieger, Science and Medicine Reporter, San Jose Mercury News—Moderator

Planet Earth is headed for a tipping point.

Midway through this century, there will be more than 9 billion people on the planet. Already we are using most of the arable land that exists and overfishing the oceans. Water, too, is becoming scarce in many places. And the services that humans depend upon—clean drinking water, steady energy supplies, and protection from disease—are under threat.

Barnosky and Hadly believe that the grand challenge of the 21st century is to change the endgame from one that looks like a train wreck to one to a brighter future. They offer their solutions to our most pressing problems.

Image - Presidential Politics in a Divided America

Presidential Politics in a Divided America

Date: Wed, May 04, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Marin Conversations

Terri Bimes, Ph.D., Assistant Director of Research, Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
Jack Glaser, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley
Mary Marcy, Ph.D., President, Dominican University of California; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors – Moderator

The 2016 presidential race has been unusual and contentious. Join experts Dr. Terri Bimes and Dr. Jack Glaser as they discuss this unusual election, the policy issues that will most impact Republicans and Democrats, and how this will affect America’s future.

Dr. Bimes is an expert on the evolution of presidential rhetoric, divided government, and American political parties and interest groups. Dr. Glaser is a social psychologist who is an expert in electoral politics and political ideology, specifically on the role of emotion (as experienced and expressed) in politics.

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

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

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.