Upcoming Events

Thu 5/4

Image - Chinatown Walking Tour

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, May 04, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Walking tour

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.

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The Witches: Salem 1692

Date: Thu, May 04, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Account of Salem witch trials

Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize Winner; Author, The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem

The Witches is Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff's account of a primal mystery. Women's suffrage, Prohibition and the Salem witch trials are three rare moments when women played a central role in American history, and in Salem it was adolescent girls who stood at center stage. The panic began during a raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's niece began to writhe and roar. The panic spread quickly, as neighbors accused neighbors, husbands accused wives and parents, and children accused each other. The witch trials ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death. Drawing masterfully on the archives, Schiff introduces us to the strains of Puritan adolescent life and the vulnerability of wilderness settlements adrift from the mother country, and she brilliantly aligns them with our own anxieties: religious provocations, crowdsourcing and invisible enemies.

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How Cities Can Solve the Climate Challenge

Date: Thu, May 04, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Cities combating climate change

Carl PopeCo-Author (with Michael Bloomberg), Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet; Former Executive Director, Sierra Club
Diane Doucette, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy
Elizabeth Patterson, Mayor of Benicia, California
Rod G. Sinks, City Council Member of Cupertino, California
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One

Mayors around the country are bypassing national politics and working around federal restrictions to both clean up their cities and foster growth in renewable energy. In red and blue states, local leaders are solving traffic congestion, promoting smart growth, and preparing for the impacts climate disruption will have on public health, roads and other infrastructure. Cities are a good news climate story; most reductions in carbon pollution actually happen at the city and regional level.

Carl Pope teamed with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to write a book about how cities are cleaning up their regional economies. Join us for a conversation with an environmental legend and Bay Area leaders who are advancing sustainable communities despite enthusiasm for the brown economy in Washington, D.C. 

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This event is Sold Out

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant: Option B

Date: Thu, May 04, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Overcoming life's challenges

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook; Author, Option B
Adam Grant, Wharton Professor; Author, Option B
Kathy Jackson, CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank—Moderator

Join Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, authors of Option B, as they talk about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks. After the sudden death of her husband, Sandberg felt certain she and her children would never feel pure joy again. Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are steps people can take to recover and even rebound. Option B combines Sandberg’s emotional insights and Grant’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. The authors will share what they’ve learned on helping others in crisis; developing compassion for ourselves; raising strong children; and creating resilient families, communities and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to ordinary struggles, allowing us to build resilience for whatever lies ahead. Sandberg and Grant will discuss the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.

Fri 5/5

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The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle Between Faith and Reason

Date: Fri, May 05, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Modern Islam

Christopher de Bellaigue, M.A. in Oriental Studies, Cambridge; Journalist; Author, The Islamic Enlightenment; Contributor, The New Yorker; Former Tehran Correspondent, The Economist
Jonathan Curiel, Journalist; Author, Al' America: Travels Through America’s Arab and Islamic Roots—Moderator 

Christopher de Bellaigue, who has covered the Middle East since 1996, will discuss his latest book, The Islamic Enlightenment, which discusses Islamic history as it relates to the modern world. De Bellaigue posits that, contrary to popular opinion, remarkable men and women from across the Muslim world have welcomed modern ideals and practices.

Mon 5/8

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

Date: Mon, May 08, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM
Discussion group

Dr. Richard G. Caro, Facilitator

This regular discussion group explores new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older. Not only do we uncover interesting new products at the intersection of aging and technology, we also conduct 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 are facilitated by Dr. Richard Caro, whom many of you have heard speak at prior Grownups forum events.

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American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason

Date: Mon, May 08, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
American Enlightenment and ideals

Caroline Winterer, Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Classics, Stanford University; Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities; Director, Stanford Humanities Center; Author, American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason

Monday Night Philosophy investigates the accepted myth of the “American Enlightenment,” which suggests that the rejection of monarchy and establishment of a new republic in the U.S. in the 18th century was the realization of utopian philosophies born in the intellectual salons of Europe, which radiated outward to the New World. Winterer argues that this national mythology of a unitary, patriotic era of Enlightenment in America was created during the Cold War to shield against the threat of totalitarianism, and Americans in the 1700s were influenced by European models in far more complex ways than commonly thought. Winterer explores which of our ideas and ideals are truly rooted in the 18th century and which are inventions and mystifications of more recent times.

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The New Birds and Bees: Conversations About Climate

Date: Mon, May 08, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Boomers and millennials working together to address climate change

Carleen Cullen, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Cool the Earth
Michael Ranney, Professor, UC Berkeley’s Department of Psychology and the Graduate School of Education
Wilford Welch, Former U.S. Diplomat for the Nixon Administration; Author, In Our Hands: Handbook for Inter-generational Actions to Solve the Climate Crisis
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One

Different generations do no often join forces and fight for a common cause. But, more than ever, bridges are now being built to cross the generational divide in the fight against climate change. Boomers and millennials are coming together, taking action on the issue, creating a dialogue and educating one another. With boomers providing the wealth and millennials providing the energy, this new dream team is coming together, ready to tackle important issues related to climate change.

Nosrat and MacNaughton

Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Date: Mon, May 08, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Learn how to cook using salt, fat, acid and heat

Samin Nosrat, Chef; Author, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking; Twitter 
Wendy MacNaughton, Columnist, The California Sunday Magazine; Illustrator, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking; Twitter
Margo True, Food Editor, Sunset Magazine—Moderator

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

Samin Nosrat has taught everyone how to cook—professional chefs, children and even Michael Pollan—by mastering just four important elements: salt, fat, acid and heat. In this program, Nosrat will share her kitchen philosophy of making meals delicious by enhancing, balancing and adding texture and flavor. Hear the hows and whys of what good cooking can be.

Nosrat trained under Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and has been called “the next Julia Child” by NPR’s All Things Considered. MacNaughton is a renowned illustrator and contributed 150 images and infographics to the book.

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SFDebate

Date: Mon, May 08, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Biweekly debate

The SFDebate is an open forum for discussion on the events of our time. It is a place where you will not only be exposed to opposing points of view, but a safe place where you will be encouraged to find and speak up for yours. SFDebate is also a meeting of minds, and we follow every meeting with continued debate and conversation at a nearby bar/restaurant.

Click here to sign up for this program via Meetup. 

Tue 5/9

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San Jose's Innovation Road Map

Date: Tue, May 09, 2017
Time: 12:30 PM
San Jose's vision for the future

Kip Harkness, Deputy City Manager, San Jose Office of Civic Innovation

San Jose is taking its “capital of Silicon Valley” title seriously. The city is already implementing the ambitious Smart City Vision, a plan that uses data and tech to promote safety, inclusivity and sustainability—but it’s just one of many projects in the extensive plan that will reinforce the city’s reputation as a global leader in civic technology. Join us to hear how San Jose plans to use innovation to chart a road map for its future.

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Nick Bilton and Dick Costolo: Inside the Online Black Market

Date: Tue, May 09, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Inside Silk Road

Nick Bilton, Special Correspondent, Vanity Fair; Author, American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road; Twitter
In Conversation with Dick Costolo, CEO, Chorus; Former CEO, Twitter

Imagine a place where you can anonymously purchase drugs, hire hit men, and acquire forged passports counterfeit cash, guns, grenades and poisons. Journalist Nick Bilton has written about politics and power struggles behind the founding of Twitter. Now he turns his investigative journalism to the story of Ross Ulbricht, the notorious and enigmatic founder of a drug empire and the Silk Road website. Bilton will divulge Ulbricht's rise and fall and what Ulbricht's story reveals about the clash of a libertarian-leaning web, where everything is decentralized, against the old world of government, law and order. He will also discuss what this could ultimately mean for all of us.

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Fear of a Faith: Sharia, Surveillance, Terrorism and the Muslim Ban

Date: Tue, May 09, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
The realities of the Islam faith

Ameena Jandali, Founding Member, Islamic Networks Group
Jihad Turk, President, Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School
Joe Simitian, Supervisor, Santa Clara County—Moderator

What’s real and what’s not? Join us for this special community forum to learn more about the policies, politics and current events that affect the United States and our overall understanding of Muslims and the Islam religion.

Co-presented by the office of Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian

Wed 5/10

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Alzheimer’s Disease—Eight Steps to Overcoming Refusal of Care

Date: Wed, May 10, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Talking about Alzheimer's disease

Jim Kimzey, Founder and CEO, Tender Rose Dementia Care Specialists

Eighty percent of people living with Alzheimer's disease lack insight into their condition. They do not realize that they need help, and they subsequently refuse care. In this presentation, you will learn about the growing prevalence of Alzheimer's disease, the different stages of Alzheimer's, why family members refuse care and why past attempts to get family members to accept care have failed. You will also learn a step-by-step approach to getting the people you love to accept the care they need.

Thu 5/11

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The Importance of Diversity in the Environmental Movement for the 21st Century

Date: Thu, May 11, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Considering environmental policies for all people

Adrianna Quintero, Natural Resources Defense Council
Additional Panelists TBA

The importance of local, national and international people of diversity throughout the world and the environmental movement is critical to maintaining and building safe and healthy environments for our planet. How will the tone set by the current administration impact efforts to build greater involvement and representation of women, people of color and others? How can we build on and impact the diversity in our country to mobilize issues that affect us all? Highly distinguished Natural Resources Defense Council experts will discuss these critical issues and explore strategies to protect and improve health and well-being for people now and for generations to come.

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Banking on Change at Standing Rock

Date: Thu, May 11, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline

L. Frank Manriquez, Indigenous California Artist, Activist
Pennie Opal Plant, Organizer, Idle No More SF Bay
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One
Additional Speakers TBA

They were an unlikely group of activists; Native American youths concerned about teen suicide sparked the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)—a movement which ultimately spread across the country. Veterans and others joined in, traveling to the construction site and showing solidarity with activists. Protesters objected to the $3.8 billion pipeline route, which they said threatened freshwater supplies and disrespected ancestral lands. Recently, in an attempt to pressure banks financing the project, Seattle yanked more than $3 billion in annual cash flows from Wells Fargo, giving the campaign a boost. The city of Davis also cut ties with the bank over the pipeline.

Still, the project is moving ahead and is nearly complete. What, then, did the protests accomplish? Are they any more than a temporary nuisance to energy companies? Join us for a conversation with those who have been at Standing Rock—and discover what it all means.

Fri 5/12

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Sustaining Capitalism: Bipartisan Solutions to Restore Trust and Prosperity

Date: Fri, May 12, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Creating a sustainable future

Steve Odland, CEO, Committee for Economic Development; Former Chairman and CEO, Office Depot; Former Chairman and CEO, AutoZone
Joseph Minarik, Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Committee for Economic Development; Former Chief Economist, Office of Management and Budget for the Clinton Administration
Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and CEO, Grand Reserve Inn; Former Chairman and CEO, Frontier Communications; Former Senior Vice President, Global Business Strategy for Microsoft—Moderator
Lenny Mendonca, Director Emeritus, McKinsey and Company—Program Chair

The Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board (CED) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization that delivers analysis and solutions to our nation’s most critical issues.

In the 75 years since its inception in 1942, CED has addressed national priorities that promote sustained economic growth and development aimed at benefitting all Americans. These activities have encompassed the Marshall Plan in the late 1940s, education reform in the past three decades and campaign finance reform since 2000. CED's research findings are coupled with multipronged outreach efforts throughout the country and abroad, achieving tangible impact at the local, state and national levels. With a new administration and Congress in office, and an ever-changing world anxious about its future, join a high-level conversation on how to ensure business and policy leaders can generate prosperity for all and make capitalism sustainable for generations to come.

Mon 5/15

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Week to Week Politics Roundtable and Social Hour 5/15/17

Date: Mon, May 15, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Insight into political issues, delivered with expertise and wit

Panelists TBA

It's never a dull moment in politics these days, and we'll discuss 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).

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Socrates Café

Date: Mon, May 15, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Ongoing Socrates forum

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 5/16

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Rugged Individualism

Date: Tue, May 16, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Why rugged individualism still exists

David Davenport, Hoover Institution Research Fellow, Former President of Pepperdine University, Co-author of Rugged Individualism

In Rugged Individualism, Davenport and Lloyd analyze the history of American individualism, from its earliest roots in the Christianity of the Colonial period to the present day. In spite of the closing of the western frontier; the shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy; the rise of Progressivism, the New Deal, the Great Society and the Reagan Revolution; federal education reform; and growing income inequality, rugged individualism has continued to survive as an American cultural icon. Davenport argues, though, that our ever more stifling federal government and overwhelming national debt may leave no room for rugged individualism to survive.