Upcoming Events: Free for Members

Thu 2/23

Image - statue of justice

SV Reads 2017: And Justice for All

Date: Thu, February 23, 2017
Time: 7:30 PM
Silicon Valley Reads 2017

Adam Benforado, Associate Professor of Law, Drexel University; Author, Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice
Sal Pizzaro, Columnist, San Jose Mercury News—Moderator

How can we reduce bias in our legal system? Benforado examines this critical issue from both a legal perspective and from someone who has been incarcerated.

Benforado says, “The failure of our legal system has been a defining issue in the U.S. over the last year…. To make progress in our fight against abuse, unequal treatment and wrongful convictions, we must come together as a community to consider the psychological biases that share the behavior of judges, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, police officers—and all of the rest of us.”

Mon 2/27

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, February 27, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group, which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan, has been meeting monthly for about nine years. We are not a debate group.

Image - Stanford University Sustainability Vision: Now and for the Future

Stanford University Sustainability Vision: Now and for the Future

Date: Mon, February 27, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
A living laboratory for sustainability

Pamela Matson, Chester A. Naramore Dean, Stanford School of Earth Energy & Environmental Sciences
Fahmida Ahmed, Director, Office of Sustainability, Stanford Department of Sustainability and Energy Management
Joseph Stagner, Executive Director, Stanford Department of Sustainability and Energy Management
Chris Field, Perry L. McCarty Director, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Stanford is actively pursuing a wide range of sustainability goals. The university's efforts range from a unique new campus energy system to rethinking dining services. Stanford has an inclusive participatory approach that makes faculty, students and employees all partners in its efforts to create a living laboratory for sustainable solutions.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, February 27, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion group

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.

Wed 3/1

Ben Franklin Circles

Date: Wed, March 01, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion group

Join us monthly, every first Wednesday, for a 21st-century version of Ben Franklin’s mutual improvement club. One evening a week, for more than 40 years, the founding father discussed and debated with his friends the 13 virtues that he felt formed the basis for personal and civic improvement, a list he created when he was 20 years old. The virtues to which he aspired included justice, resolution and humility (but don't misunderstand Ben on that one—his explanation of humility was "imitate Jesus and Socrates").

Ben Franklin Circles bring people together to discuss the most pressing philosophical and ethical issues of our time with the goal of improving ourselves and our world. 

Mon 3/6

Image - Dr Jessica Zitter

A New Kind of Heroism: Extreme Measures at the End of Life

Date: Mon, March 06, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Partnerships instead of lone heroics

Jessica Zitter, MD, MPH, ICU and Palliative Care, Highland Hospital; Author, Extreme Measures; Contributor, The New York TimesThe Atlantic, Huffington Post, the Journal of the American Medical Association

Dr. Zitter entered the field of critical care medicine to be a hero. She wanted to rescue people from the brink of death like a fireman rescues fire victims—calmly, swiftly and without stopping to ask questions. But one day, as she was aggressively treating a dying patient in the ICU, a nurse challenged her on why she was putting the patient through the pointless ordeal. The remark smarted, and Dr. Zitter began asking herself the same question about many of her patients. She came to realize that while the standard no-holds-barred medical approach achieves some dramatic victories, it often causes more suffering than benefit for patients with life-limiting illness.

In this program, Dr. Zitter will describe a new kind of heroism. Her current practice is influenced by the Palliative Care movement, which has the potential to transform medicine in the ICU and beyond. This new model is patient-centered and participatory. Doctors pursue direct and honest communication, however difficult, over false hope and avoidance. And the central actor is no longer a lone warrior-doctor in the trenches of medical warfare, but rather a diverse team of health-care providers acting in partnership with patients and family members.

Sun 3/12

Image - Statue of Justice

Building Trust with Procedural Justice

Date: Sun, March 12, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM
Ensuring equal and fair treatment

Dennis R. Burns, Retired Police Chief , City of Palo Alto
David Honda, Police Chief, City of Watsonville
Phan Ngo, Chief, City of Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety
Barbara Marshman, Editorial Page Editor, San Jose Mercury News—Moderator

Procedural Justice is a national initiative that focuses on the way police and other legal authorities interact with the public. It is based on four principles: treating people with dignity and respect, giving citizens a voice during encounters, being neutral in decision-making, and conveying trustworthy motives.

Burns, Honda and Ngo have a combined total of more than 75 years of law enforcement experience in Santa Clara County. They will discuss how local police departments are using procedural justice to build trust with the community to ensure individuals are being treated fairly and without bias.

Tue 3/14

Image - Lynn Downey

The Inside Story of Levi Strauss and His Mark on America

Date: Tue, March 14, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The man who gave America Jeans

Lynn Downey, Independent Scholar, Former Historian, Levi Strauss and Company; Author, Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World
In conversation with Roy Eisenhardt

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

Blue jeans are globally beloved and quintessentially American. They symbolize everything from the Old West to the hippie counter-culture; everyone from car mechanics to high-fashion models wears jeans. And no name is more associated with blue jeans than Levi Strauss & Co., the creator of this classic American garment. Despite creating an American icon, Levi Strauss is a mystery. Little is known about the man, and the widely circulated "facts" about his life are steeped in mythology. In this first full-length biography, Lynn Downey sets the record straight about this brilliant businessman. Hear how Strauss's life was the classic American success story, filled with lessons about craft and integrity, leadership, and innovation. Dare we say, his story is riveting.

Wed 3/15

Image - detail from The Prose Edda book cover

Humanities West Book Discussion: The Prose Edda, by Jesse Byock

Date: Wed, March 15, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Gods and giants and dwarves and elves — what's not to like?

Join us to discuss The Prose Edda, the most renowned work of Scandinavian literature and our most extensive source for Norse mythology. The Edda was written in Iceland a century after the close of the Viking Age, and tells in clear prose, interspersed with powerful verse, the ancient Norse creation epic and stories of the battles that follow as gods, giants, dwarves and elves struggle for survival. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

Mon 3/20

Life After Hate

Date: Mon, March 20, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Lessons from a former extremist

Antony McAleer, Executive Director, Life After Hate

A former organizer for the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), Tony McAleer served as a skinhead recruiter, proprietor of Canadian Liberty Net (a computer-operated voice messaging center used to disseminate messages of hatred), and manager of the racist rock band, Odin’s Law. It was love for his children that finally led Tony on a spiritual journey of personal transformation. Today he is the executive director of Life After Hate and shares his practice of compassion as an inspirational speaker.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, March 20, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion group

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.

Mon 3/27

Image - Middle East

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, March 27, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group, which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan, has been meeting monthly for about nine years. We are not a debate group.

Thu 4/13

Image - Reid

Journalist T.R. Reid: How to Clean up the U.S. Tax System

Date: Thu, April 13, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Rewriting the U.S. tax code

T.R. Reid, Correspondent, The Washington Post; Commentator, National Public Radio; Author, A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System

On the eve of the annual tax deadline, here’s a program that promises to provide ammunition for the next time you complain to elected officials about the hassles and inequities of the U.S. tax system.

Noted journalist T.R. Reid points out the following: Last year, Americans spent more than 6 billion hours and $12 billion filing their taxes. In the Netherlands, the average filing time is 15 minutes; in Estonia, it takes 7 minutes. According to Reid, Congress has given its members various tax breaks and deductions that other Americans never receive. In Slovakia, by contrast, government representatives pay 5 percent more in tax. Reid goes on to say that U.S. billionaires can pay relatively very little tax—and sometimes no tax at all. France, Norway and Switzerland all have wealth taxes designed to reduce economic inequality.

Historically, there have been total rewrites of the U.S. tax code every 32 years—in 1922, 1954 and 1986. This means the next rewrite is due in 2018, and Congress and President Trump will need to begin revamping the code this year. Can they write a new tax code that is both fair and simple? Can they cut tax rates and still bring in the revenue required? According to Reid, this can be done. In this program, he’ll detail exactly how America can rewrite the tax code, in this case learning from other democracies around the world.

Mon 4/17

Image - Speaker photos

The Future of Digital Marketing

Date: Mon, April 17, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Challenges and opportunities for the next year

Pete Kim, CEO, MightyHive
Nikesh Desai, CEO, InvestingChannel
David Rodnitzky, CEO, 3Q Digital
Anneka Gupta, CPO, LiveRamp—Moderator

Digital marketing is constantly evolving with incredible advancements in technology, partnerships, acquisitions and new strategic thinking. Ad-blocking, artificial intelligence, programmatic media buying, and big data are constant buzzwords we hear about the marketing landscape. Join this panel of experts across agency, publishing and technology as they discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities ahead for the next year.

David Rodnitzky is founder and CEO of 3Q Digital. Prior to 3Q Digital, he held senior marketing roles at several Internet companies, including Rentals.com, FindLaw, Adteractive and Mercantila. Nikesh Desai is the co-founder and CEO of InvestingChannel, an interactive media platform that aggregates independent financial news. Prior, Nikesh co-founded the consultancy Giant Step Strategies and served as VP of business development at TheStreet.com. An influential figure in advertising technology, Pete Kim has worked with the world’s largest advertisers on improving marketing strategies across every industry vertical. He has held senior positions in product management, sales, and business development at Google and Yahoo!. Moderator Anneka Gupta is chief product officer of LiveRamp, where she oversees the execution and strategy of LiveRamp’s roadmap. 

Wed 4/19

Image - detail of book cover of Cleopatra

Humanities West Book Discussion: Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff

Date: Wed, April 19, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The story of one of the most intriguing women in history

Join us to discuss Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer who brings to life one of the most intriguing women in human history. Though the palace of the last queen of Egypt actually did shimmer with onyx, garnets and gold, it was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Cleopatra died young, at 39, but first married two brothers, dispatching one in a brutal civil war while they were still teenagers, and poisoning the other, before eliminating a sister as well. She had a son with Julius Caesar and three children with Marc Antony, complicating but probably prolonging wealthy Egypt's fatal embrace by the relatively uncivilized Romans. In a masterly return to classical sources, Schiff boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose dramatic death ushered in a new world order. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

Mon 4/24

Image - Middle East

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, April 24, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group—which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan— has been meeting monthly for nine years. We are not a debate group. Each month we discuss timely, cultural subjects in a civil atmosphere with respect for others and their opinions. Students are particularly welcome.

Image - Bridget Ford

Bonds of Union

Date: Mon, April 24, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The tensile strength of national connections

Bridget Ford, Professor of History, California State University, East Bay; Author, Bonds of Union: Religion, Race, and Politics in a Civil War Borderland

Americans today worry that social and political divisions threaten our democracy and our futures together, bound by one nation. Bonds of Union offers valuable historical perspective from the Civil War era, a period in which the ties holding Americans together frayed and then broke. But Ford shows the ways diverse Americans maintained and strengthened the connective tissue that held them together, even at a time of extreme division and bloodshed. The focus of her talk will be the establishment of publicly funded schools for all Americans, and the new Republican Party’s critical involvement in that effort in the 1850s. She demonstrates that the United States has a longer, deeper history of imagining an inclusive society than we typically imagine, one that stretches back to the decades before the Civil War.

Wed 5/17

Image – Detail of Penguin edition of Antony and Cleopatra

Humanities West Book Discussion: Antony and Cleopatra, by William Shakespeare

Date: Wed, May 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Book discussion group

Join us to discuss "Antony and Cleopatra," the famous Elizabethan play by the legendary English playwright about the infamous Roman general who would be Caesar, and the even more famous, legendary and infamous last pharaoh of ancient Egypt—even if she was really Greek. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

 

Mon 5/22

Image - Middle East

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, May 22, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group—which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan—has been meeting monthly for nine years. We are not a debate group. Each month we discuss timely, cultural subjects in a civil atmosphere with respect for others and their opinions.