Upcoming Events: Silicon Valley

Thu 2/18

Image - China flag

The UK Sees China As a Friend — Why Don't We?

Date: Thu, February 18, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
China's different receptions in the U.S. and UK

Martin Jacques, Journalist; Author, When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order
Susan Shirk, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State; Chair, 21st Century China Program, University of California San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy
Additional Panelists TBA

As Great Britain enters what some are calling the “Golden Era” of relations with China, the United States continues with its tenuous and tense relationship with the Middle Kingdom. Given the historic closeness and cultural similarities between the U.S. and the UK, what explains this tremendous difference in relations?

Understanding this question is relevant to the future of world peace and stability, and we have invited two speakers eminently qualified to shed light on this issue. They will describe the stark difference in reception of President Xi in both the United States and China, why the UK is going its own way with Chinese relations, and the takeaways and implications arising from this issue.

Tue 2/23

Image - Dr. Theodora Ross: Cancer in the Family

Dr. Theodora Ross: Cancer in the Family

Date: Tue, February 23, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Detecting and treating inherited cancer.

Theodora Ross, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine, Director of the Cancer Genetics Program, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Author, A Cancer in the Family: Take Control of Your Genetic Inheritance
Alison van Diggelen, Host, "Fresh Dialogues"; BBC Contributor—Moderator

There are an estimated 13 million people diagnosed with cancer in the United States, and about 1.3 million of these cases are hereditary. Dr. Ross is a leading researcher on cancer susceptibility genes. Using her own family’s story and experiences as a practicing physician, Dr. Ross shares how to get treated and spot patterns of inherited cancer. 

Tue 3/1

Dr. Sara Gottfried: Upgrade Your Brain, Outsmart Your DNA, and Reset Your Hormones Naturally

Date: Tue, March 01, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
The Epic Mission: Upgrade Your Brain, Outsmart Your DNA, & Reset Your Hormones Naturally

Sara Gottfried, M.D., Author, The Hormone Cure and The Hormone Reset Diet

The Epic Mission: Upgrade Your Brain, Outsmart Your DNA, and Reset Your Hormones Naturally

Groundbreaking science now shows that approximately 10 percent of disease is genetic and 90 percent is due to environmental exposures such as the way you eat, move, think and supplement. Gottfried practices functional medicine, a systems-based approach to address health from your DNA to your daily habits.

Learn how to optimize brain function and improve wellness and resilience to stress.

Mon 3/7

Could It Happen Here?

Date: Mon, March 07, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Dr. Brian Green, Assistant Director of Campus Ethics, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics; Assistant Director of Engineering, Santa Clara University
Jim Fiedler, Chief Operating Officer of Water Utility, Santa Clara Valley Water District
Barbara Marshman, Editorial Page Editor, San Jose Mercury News—Moderator

In Parzybok’s eco-fiction novel Sherwood Nation, he speculates about what an American city would be like if an extended drought limited water rations to one gallon of water per person a day. Hoarding, riots, neighborhoods filled with abandoned homes and businesses, fires left to burn themselves out, power outages—residents quickly devolve into survival mode of doing whatever they think is necessary to stay alive.

How far-fetched is this disturbing “what if” story? Would the infrastructure, water policies and human kindness of Silicon Valley be up to the challenge of losing unlimited access to the precious resource we take for granted: water? 

Mon 3/21

Somini Sengupta: The New India

Date: Mon, March 21, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Somini Sengupta, Foreign Correspondent, The New York Times; Author, The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young; Twitter:

Sengupta explores the people of India and how the country is dealing with issues relating to economic opportunity, gender equality and civil liberties.

Sengupta emigrated from Calcutta as a child and grew up in California. Thirty years later, she returned to India as the first Indian-American bureau chief for The New York Times.

Wed 3/23

Image - Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters

Date: Wed, March 23, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Sean Carroll, Vice President for Science Education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Allan Wilson Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Author, The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters

One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated—there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. But how is mankind impacting this delicate balance?

The most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar; there is a common underlying logic to life. Award-winning biologist Carroll explains how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet. 

Wed 3/30

Image - Joe Lurie

Joe Lurie: Perceptions and Misperceptions in a Globalized Polarized World

Date: Wed, March 30, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Joe Lurie, Executive Director Emeritus, International House, UC Berkeley; Author

The Commonwealth Club is offering an encore performance of Joe Lurie's recent sold-out program in San Francisco. Inspired by a West African proverb that says “The stranger sees only what he knows,” Joe Lurie shares a feast of cross-cultural stories and misadventures, exploring the deeper cultural messages that escape people who hear largely what they’re used to hearing and see mostly what they’re used to seeing.

Gleaned from his years of research, travel and managing Berkeley’s International House, Lurie reveals how cultural filters distort perceptions of others in the worlds of immigration, diplomacy and business. One reviewer of Lurie’s book observed, “Already I can hear the reader calling out to a friend across the room, ‘Wait, you’ve got to hear this!’”

Wed 4/13

Image - Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington with Sheryl Sandberg: The Power of Sleep

Date: Wed, April 13, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
The latest advice and science on achieving a better night's rest.

Arianna Huffington, Co-founder and Editor in Chief, the Huffington Post Media Group, Author, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time
In Conversation with Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

In today’s 24/7 fast-paced world, the hunger for sleep is only getting stronger. Sleep deprivation affects our health, decision making, and relationships both personally and professionally.

Huffington takes on sleep from every angle and offers the latest scientific recommendations and expert tips to achieve a better night's sleep.

Image - The Commonwealth Club of California

Michael Puett: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life

Date: Wed, April 13, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Michael Puett, Professor of Chinese History and Chair of the Committee on the Study of Religion, Harvard University; Co-author, The Path: What Chinese Philosopher Can Teach Us About the Good Life

Why is a course on ancient Chinese philosophers one of the most popular at Harvard? Counterintuitive and countercultural, Puett shares why the important teachings developed more than 2000 years ago still apply today.

Hear more about the ideas that will help change your life.