Upcoming Events

Wed 3/4

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion: The Song of Roland

Humanities West Book Discussion: The Song of Roland

Date: Wed, March 04, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
A classical epic that glorifies the heroism of Charlemagne.

Join us to discuss The Song of Roland, the anonymous classical epic that glorifies the heroism of Charlemagne in the 778 battle between the Franks and the Moors. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Image - Who is Putin?
This event is Sold Out

Who Is Putin?

Date: Wed, March 04, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Ilya Ponomarev, member of the Russian State Duma

Ilya Ponomarev, Opposition Member, Russian State Duma; Chair, Innovations Subcommittee of Duma; Technology Entrepreneur

Who is Vladimir Putin: powerful tyrant or cornered ex-KGB officer who became Russian President? What is the end game for him? How should the White House handle the crisis between Russia and the West? Join our discussion with a leader of the Russian opposition. Hon. Illya Ponomarev was the only State Duma member to vote against the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation. In August he learned that the Kremlin had banned him from returning to Russia.

Thu 3/5

Image - Elder Financial Abuse and Blessing Scams

Elder Financial Abuse and Blessing Scams

Date: Thu, March 05, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With San Francisco District Attorney, George Gascón

George Gascón, San Francisco District Attorney

In 2012 there were 47 reported cases of blessing scams, a type of fraud that preys on elderly Chinese women and takes advantage of their love and commitment to their families. Blessing scam perpetrators tell victims that someone in their family is in potential danger. Fearful victims immediately jump into action to collect their cash and jewelry to be “blessed” by the scammers. During the “blessing” they switch out the bags, leaving victims to later find out that their valuables are gone forever. The San Francisco District Attorney’s office is the first jurisdiction in the United States to successfully prosecute blessing scam cases and secure the highest sentence. Come hear District Attorney Gascón discuss his office’s blessing scam public education campaign and how they successfully reduced scams from 47 cases in 2012. Learn how you can protect your friends, family and community from falling victim to elder financial abuse and scams.

Image - Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Date: Thu, March 05, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Discuss international issues and plan programs.

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 2015.

Image - In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural

In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China

Date: Thu, March 05, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Michael Meyer

Michael Meyer, Author, In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and The Transformation of Rural China and The Last Days of Old Beijing

Meyer draws on his three-year residence in his wife’s hometown of Wasteland, Manchuria, to bring to life a sweeping view of a rapidly changing China. Once a commune, the rice-farming village was transformed in a process that has been repeated across rural China: A privately owned company moved in, paved new roads, introduced organic farming, and provided workers apartments in new high-rise buildings – in exchange for their land rights. Using Wasteland as a fulcrum, Meyer weaves in Manchuria’s rich past – from the last Chinese emperor through Japanese occupation to communist victory – to help make sense of variegated contemporary China.

Fri 3/6

Image - Reality Check: Russia, Ukraine, and the West in Crisis and Conflict

Reality Check: Russia, Ukraine, and the West in Crisis and Conflict

Date: Fri, March 06, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Is confrontation the new normal for Europe and Eurasia?

Matthew Rojansky, Director, Kennan Institute, Wilson Center

The death toll from the war in Ukraine's southeast is in the thousands, the government in Kiev is on the edge of bankruptcy, and mutual hostility between Russia and the West is more intense than it has been for more than a quarter century. This ongoing crisis threatens not only to upend the precarious security balance of the post-Soviet era, but also to fragment the foundation of the very political and economic system that hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians embraced by supporting the so-called Euromaidan last fall and winter. With poor prospects for a comprehensive diplomatic settlement, and political pressure for escalation from all sides, can anything be done to contain the conflict? Is crisis and confrontation the new normal for Europe and Eurasia? If so, will these problems come home to roost in the West? 

Sun 3/8

Image - ACT’s Carey Perloff: A Life in the Theater

ACT’s Carey Perloff: A Life in the Theater

Date: Sun, March 08, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
With Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of the ACT

Carey Perloff, Artistic Director, American Conservatory Theater
In conversation with Michael Krasny, Host, KQED’s Forum

KQED’s Michael Krasny sits down with ACT Artistic Director Carey Perloff on the occasion of her lively and revealing new memoir, Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater. Besides serving as a provocative and impassioned manifesto for the role of live theater in today's technology-infused world, Perloff's personal and professional journey – her life as a woman in a male-dominated profession; as a wife and mother; and as a playwright, director, producer, arts advocate, and citizen in a city erupting with change – is a compelling story for anyone interested in how theater gets made. Join us as she reveals the arc of her career in theater, from falling in love with modern English theater as a Fulbright Fellow in London to her intimate working experiences with well-known actors, directors and writers, including Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, Robert Wilson, David Strathairn and Olympia Dukakis.

Reservations required and must be made at: http://www.act-sf.org/home/box_office/special_events.html

Mon 3/9

Image - Minimizing Fear

Minimizing Fear

Date: Mon, March 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

George Hammond, Author, Rational Idealism and Conversations With Socrates

Monday Night Philosophy understands that we have explained life to ourselves in ways that have scared us silly for so long that it has become an engrained habit. Ironically, it's a habit we rather enjoy because fear often keeps us more alert than we'd otherwise be. But there are other ways to remain intellectually alert to the nuances of life that are not so debilitating. So tonight we'll sort through those fears with the goal of understanding how unlikely it is that these fears are justified, eliminating those that are highly irrational, and minimizing those that are merely ridiculous.

Image - Brewster Kahle: Open Source Housing for Good

Brewster Kahle: Open Source Housing for Good

Date: Mon, March 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Digital Librarian and Founder of the Internet Archive

Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian and Founder, Internet Archive; Co-founder, Alexa Internet
Kevin Jones, Founder, Good Capital; Co-founder and Convener, Social Capital Markets
Jessy Kate Schingler, Co-founder, Embassy Network; Founding Partner, Open Door Development Group; 2014 Institute for the Future Fellow
Kevin O'Malley, President TechTalk / Studio - Moderator

Affordable housing increasingly is becoming an unattainable dream for many Americans living in cities – especially for those living in San Francisco. Might a proven tool from the digital open source software movement provide a solution? Public licenses for apartments would eliminate debt and allow people working for the common good to be able to live in high-rent cities. Brewster Kahle – internet entrepreneur, creative systems builder and leader of the Internet Archive – explores the potential of an open source housing model that could ease the housing squeeze across the country.

Kevin Jones is currently engaged in building a network of resilient small towns and cities. This network employs a new holistic method that links giving, investing and philanthropic investing, which accelerates the flow of capital to good within a community. Jessy Kate Schingler is working to create a progressive housing and collaboration commons between locations around the world.

Tue 3/10

Image - International Careers: Explore the World As You Work

International Careers: Explore the World As You Work

Date: Tue, March 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A panel of worldly experts.

Terry Vogt, Managing Director, Terra Global Capital
Lisa Reinsberg, Executive Director, International Justice Resource Center
Vaido Vald, Superintendent, Skanska – Global Project Development and Construction Group
Nikki Sayres, Senior Director of Field Representation and Operations, The Asia Foundation

Have you ever thought of taking your sharply honed professional skill set overseas? Perhaps to use your management expertise to help shape the next green building complex in Denmark? Or your legal and human rights knowledge to push for the fair treatment of migrant workers in China? Our panel of international specialists from private industry and the nonprofit sphere will discuss opportunities for international work in various disciplines. Learn about the rewards and possible pitfalls of working abroad. Following the program you will have the opportunity to talk directly with the speakers.

Image - Bruce Schneier: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data

Bruce Schneier: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data

Date: Tue, March 10, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Author and Chief Technology Officer

Bruce Schneier, Chief Technology Officer, Co3 Systems; Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School; Author, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

Join us for a shocking look at the ways corporations and governments track and control people, and the ways we can fight back.

Data is everywhere. We create it every time we go online, turn our phone on (or off!) or pay with a credit card. This data is stored, studied and bought and sold by corporations and governments for surveillance, profit and control. “Foremost security expert” (Wired) and best-selling author Bruce Schneier shows how this data has led to a double-edged Internet: a Web that gives power to the people but is abused by the institutions on which those people depend.

In Data and Goliath, Schneier reveals the full extent of surveillance, censorship and propaganda in society today, examining the risks of cybercrime, cyberterrorism and cyberwar. He shares technological, legal and social solutions that can help shape a more equal, private and secure world.

Wed 3/11

Image - Michael Rich, President and CEO, RAND Corporation

Michael Rich, President and CEO, RAND Corporation

Date: Wed, March 11, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Smart Ideas to Benefit the World

Smart Ideas to Benefit the World

Michael Rich, President and CEO, RAND Corporation

Michael Rich heads the RAND Corporation, perhaps the nation’s most renowned think tank. Founded after World War II to continue advancing the knowledge in peacetime that civilian research scientists had been recruited to develop during the war, RAND has been an independent, nonprofit research organization now for nearly seven decades. On issues ranging from children and families to combatting terrorism, RAND’s 1,800 member staff studies important social, economic, scientific and political issues, makes recommendations to government officials, and publishes the conclusions to benefit the public good.

Rich will discuss RAND’s recent conclusions and recommendations on such issues as coping with sea level rise resulting from climate change, implementing the Affordable Care Act, improving education outcomes for kids, reducing the spread of Ebola in Africa, and cutting through political polarization. Hear about RAND’s smartest ideas and most interesting research results from the chief of this unique organization.

Thu 3/12

Image - 2015: Critical Year for Planet Earth

2015: Critical Year for Planet Earth

Date: Thu, March 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

James Fahn, Executive Director, Internews' Earth Journalism Network; Journalism Lecturer, UC Berkeley
David Akana, Journalist, Cameroon
Gustavo Faleiros, Journalist, Brazil
Neha Sethi, Journalist, India; Visiting Scholar, UC Berkeley
Mark Schapiro, Journalist, United States; Author, Carbon Shock

This year is going to be crucial for the earth's climate and for the future of our planet. Diplomats and other stakeholders will be gathering in Paris in December 2015 to try to finally agree on an international protocol that will coordinate concerted and collaborative action against global warming.

Earth Journalism Network has been reporting on climate summits since Kyoto in 1997. Join us to hear from these seasoned journalists who cover climate change, the impacts of global warming and the future of our planet.

Image - The Carbon Bubble

The Carbon Bubble

Date: Thu, March 12, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Anthony Hobley, CEO, Carbon Tracker Initiative
Kurt Billick, Chief Investment Officer, Bocage Capital

Is there a time bomb lurking in your retirement account? Investors holding a variety of index and mutual funds own a chunk of fossil fuel stocks. England’s central bank recently said that coal, oil and natural gas reserves that determine the future earnings of those companies, and therefore the stock prices, may be overvalued. If that fuel is burned, average temperatures will rise to levels that will create havoc in food supplies and economies. In other words, oil and coal companies are propped up by hydrocarbons that will become unburnable at some point in the future. The prevailing view on Wall Street is that energy companies will diversify and their balance sheets won’t implode if world leaders get serious about limiting carbon pollution. However, a growing number of financial firms are starting to say the idea of a carbon bubble should be taken seriously. Join a conversation about the risks of owning energy stocks in a hot and wobbly world.

Image - Like Moths to A Flame: Technology Innovators

Like Moths to A Flame: Technology Innovators

Date: Thu, March 12, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
The diverse landscape of Silicon Valley

Privahini Bradoo, CEO and Co-Founder, BlueOak
Miro Salem, CEO and Founder, 3TEN8
Alex Torrenegra, CEO and Co-Founder, Bunny Inc.
Geetha Vallabhaneni, CEO, Luminix
Barbara Marshman, Editorial Page Editor, The San Jose Mercury News – Moderator

Santa Clara County – home to Silicon Valley’s flourishing tech scene – is made up of a multitude of different ethnicities, with more than one-third of its residents born outside of the United States. This diversity is reflected in the backgrounds of many of its tech industry leaders, who, while hailing from countries as diverse as India and Colombia, all flocked to the innovation mecca of Northern California. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and an uncompromising creativity, many have found success in building up their own brands from scratch, but often not without trials along the way. Join our panel of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, all born outside of the United State, as they discuss why technology innovators leave their homelands to start businesses here in the Bay Area.

Mon 3/16

Image - The Amazons

The Amazons

Date: Mon, March 16, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Were these ancient warrior women fact or fiction?

Adrienne Mayor, Research Scholar, Classics and History and Philosophy of Science, Stanford University

Amazons – fierce warrior women dwelling on the fringes of the known world – were the mythic archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Heracles and Achilles dueled Amazon queens, and Cyrus of Persia, Alexander the Great and Pompey each tangled with them. But who were these bold barbarian archers on horseback? Were Amazons real? Mayor's is the first comprehensive account of warrior women in myth and history across the ancient world, including new archaeological discoveries of battle-scarred female skeletons buried with their weapons. Mayor argues that a timeless search for a balance between the sexes explains the allure of the Amazons and reminds us that there were as many Amazon love stories as there were war stories.

Image - The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Women

The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Women

Date: Mon, March 16, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Health care experts delve deep into the Affordable Care Act.

Carlina Hansen, Executive Director, Women’s Community Clinic
Claire Brindis, DrPH, Director, UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies
Alice Huan-mei Chen, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Integration Officer, Director of the Center for Innovation in Access and Quality, and Director of the eReferral Program, San Francisco General Hospital; Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco — Moderator

Underwritten by The California Wellness Foundation

On January 1, 2014, many of the health reforms mandated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act were set to take effect, including free access to preventive health services for 47 million women across America. One year later, there continues to be lively discussion on the success of the 2014 roll out of Obamacare and what changes Americans – particularly women – have seen in their health care these past 15 months. Join our panel of health care experts as they delve deep into the Affordable Care Act, its roll out and continued progress, and discuss what this law truly means for women across the United States.

Tue 3/17

Image - The Allure of Irish Dancing

The Allure of Irish Dancing

Date: Tue, March 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Michael Dillon of the Dillon Magh Adhair Academy of Irish Dance

Michael Dillon, ADCRG, Dillon Magh Adhair Academy of Irish Dance

Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a demonstration of Irish dancing by championship-level dancers from a renowned Bay Area dance school. Dillon, an Ard Diploma Coimisiuin le Rinci Gaelacha (a teacher certified by the worldwide governing body of Irish dance), will also explain the history that permeates this detailed and disciplined dance culture. This will be the perfect pre-pub experience, as you are sure to leave with your feet tapping out a jig — or maybe even a reel.

Image - The Internet Is not the Answer

The Internet Is not the Answer

Date: Tue, March 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Andrew Keen

Andrew Keen, Author; Executive Director, FutureCast; Senior Fellow, CALinnovates; Host, “Keen On”; Columnist, CNN
Elizabeth Stark, Founder, StartBitcoin.org - Moderator

The advent of the Internet ushered in one of the greatest shifts in society since the Industrial Revolution. There are many positive ways in which the Internet has contributed to a more open and dynamic world – think of how easy it is today to keep up with events from around the world, conduct business on a global scale or order the exact product you need by merely tapping a screen. We are, however, less aware of the Internet’s deeply negative effects on our psychology, economy, and culture. From the rise of big data companies to the increasing attempts to monetize almost every human activity, the Internet continues to reconfigure our society – often at great cost. Andrew Keen, a 20-year industry insider, shows us the tech world with all its imperfections, and explores how we can mitigate the unpleasant and unforeseen aftershocks that result from the reshaping of our society.

Wed 3/18

Image - Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman: The Untold Story of Psychiatry

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman: The Untold Story of Psychiatry

Date: Wed, March 18, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D.; Lawrence C. Kolb Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Author, Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychology

Psychiatry has come a long way since the days of cruelly chaining "lunatics" in cold cells and parading them as freakish marvels before a gaping public. However, the path to legitimacy for "the black sheep of medicine" has been anything but smooth. Through a period that saw hydrotherapy, lobotomies and primal screaming regularly used as treatments, psychiatry has endured serious growing pains on its way to becoming an accepted evidence-based profession. Dr. Lieberman traces the history of the field, from its birth as a mystic pseudo-science to its maturity, all the while arguing that we should dispel the stigma linked to mental illnesses and treat them as diseases rather than as unfortunate states of mind.