Upcoming Events: All

Thu 4/9

Image - North Beach Walking Tour

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Thu, April 09, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

Join another Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Explore vibrant North Beach with Rick Evans during a two-hour walk through this neighborhood with a colorful past, where food, culture, history and unexpected views all intersect in an Italian “urban village.” In addition to learning about Beat generation hangouts, you’ll discover authentic Italian cathedrals and coffee shops.

Image - American Whistleblowers: The Peril and Promise of Science

American Whistleblowers: The Peril and Promise of Science

Date: Thu, April 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Blowing the whistle within the health care industry

Judy Mikovits, Ph.D., Former Director, Antiviral Drug Mechanisms Laboratory, National Cancer Institute; Co-author, Plague: One Scientist's Intrepid Search for the Truth
Kent Heckenlively, Attorney; Science Teacher; Founding Editor, Age of Autism; Co-Author, Plague: One Scientist's Intrepid Search for the Truth
Brian Hooker, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor of Biology and Chair of the Science and Mathematics Division, Simpson University
Christie Dames, CEO, TechTalk/Studio – Moderator

Whistleblowers, from Daniel Ellsberg in the ’70s to Edward Snowden in recent years, have always received pointed public attention for exposing the internal dealings of our powerful political and military institutions. But who shines a light on the convoluted realm of health care, a massive industry that brought in over 1.6 trillion dollars in revenue over the past year? With health care choice at the nexus of our constitutional rights, and scares like Ebola and measles grabbing international headlines, how do we know we’re getting information that is truthful? Come hear about the scientists, lauded by some and maligned by others, who decide to go public with information that many in the industry don’t want us to see.

Fri 4/10

Image - The 18th Annual Travers Conference on Ethics and Accountability in Gover

The 18th Annual Travers Conference on Ethics and Accountability in Government

Date: Fri, April 10, 2015
Time: 9:00 AM
Presented by the Travers Dept. of Political Science at UC Berkeley

Presented by The Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley in cooperation with The Commonwealth Club

Theme: Money and Politics
The conference will consist of several panels with presentations of research and roundtable discussions with scholars and experts in the field of money and politics.

Stephen Ansolabehere, Harvard University
David Broockman, UC Berkeley
Bruce Cain, Stanford University
Ray Laraja, University of Massachusetts
Christine Mahoney, University of Virginia
Tom Mann, Brookings Institution and UC Berkeley
Nolan McCarty, Princeton University
Jeff Milyo, University of Missouri
Paul Pierson, UC Berkeley
Brian Schaffner, University of Massachusetts
Mark Schmitt, New America Foundation

Image - How to Write Your Own Business Book: Starting, Finishing and Publishing

Write the Book About Your Business to Increase Profits and Clients

Date: Fri, April 10, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With business journalist Francine Brevetti.

Francine Brevetti, Business Journalist, Formerly with the Oakland Tribune; Ghostwriter; Memoirist

You say you’re an expert, but who else knows? Publishing a book based on your business experience and expertise is a great way to establish your credentials and attract prospective clients. International business journalist and author Francine Brevetti sets out an easy-to-follow program for how to write your own book, with insider guidance on how to start writing, generate and structure content, and approach publishing your work. Francine will break down each element of the writing process using her clear, step-by-step methodology. You'll learn her process to write a book that has the potential to raise your business profile and expand your customer base.

Mon 4/13

Image - Overcoming the Fear of Death

Overcoming the Fear of Death

Date: Mon, April 13, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With Kelvin Chin, consultant and public speaker

Kelvin Chin, Consultant; Public Speaker

Why are we so afraid of death? After all, death is inevitable. But what is death? Is it the end, the beginning or a transition? Kelvin Chin will help people rethink how they respond to the death of a loved one and how they think about their own deaths. His new approach is sensitive, insightful and non-religious.

Image - Evolutionary UpWising

Evolutionary UpWising

Date: Mon, April 13, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Swami Beyondananda

Swami Beyondananda, Humorist; Satirist; FUNdamentalist

Once in many lifetimes there comes a being so enlightened, so evolved and so pure that the whole world is transformed. Unfortunately, Monday Night Philosophy couldn't find anyone like that. But we did find Swami Beyondananda, whose favorite yoga pose is tongue-in-cheek. A spiritual and political pundit (if anyone punned it, Swami probably punned it first), Swami will offer a healthier alternative to a revolutionary uprising to overthrow the system – an evolutionary upwising to overgrow the system. At a time when politics is laughable yet not all that funny, Swami will give you reason to laugh and reason to think. And if you have an answerable question for Swami, Swami will have a questionable answer for you.

Tue 4/14

Image - Books or Behavior: Disproportionate Discipline, Trauma and Truancy

Books or Behavior: Disproportionate Discipline, Trauma and Truancy

Date: Tue, April 14, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
Exploring the philosophy of the Lincoln Child Center

Christine Stoner-Mertz, LCSW, President and CEO, Lincoln Child Center
Macheo Payne, Ed.D., MSW, Senior Director of Equity and Educational Initiatives, Lincoln Child Center, Assistant Professor of Social Work, California State University East Bay

The intersection of trauma, poverty and race create hidden barriers to accessing quality education for youth in the Bay Area and around the country. Stoner-Mertz and Payne will discuss how early investments on a community level can help to dismantle those barriers. They’ll offer new approaches to long-standing issues, which can improve attendance, restore students’ mental health and create school communities that can thrive. Lincoln’s social impact model for reducing chronic absenteeism and their partnerships with school districts, parents and funders to achieve healthy school environments will be highlighted.

Wed 4/15

Image - The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Comput

The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age

Date: Wed, April 15, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Robert M. Wachter, M.D.

Robert M. Wachter, M.D., Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Medicine, UCSF; Director, Division of Hospital Medicine

Everyone had high hopes that computers would be the magic bullet to improving healthcare’s safety, quality and efficiency. In the past five years – due to a $30 billion federal incentive program – medicine has finally, reluctantly, gone digital. Using a dramatic case in which a child received a 39-fold overdose of a common antibiotic, this talk explores some of the unforeseen consequences of information technology. Those consequences range from the movement to hire scribes so doctors and patients can look each other in the eyes again to the tendency of clinicians to defer to a new kind of authority: an electronic one. It will also touch on core issues in medicine, such as what it means to be a doctor – and patient – in the digital age. Dr. Wachter’s new book, The Digital Doctor, will be published in April.

Thu 4/16

Image - Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans: Evolving Ourselves

Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans: Evolving Ourselves

Date: Thu, April 16, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Discussing Evolving Ourselves with the co-authors

Juan Enriquez, Co-Founder, Excel Venture Management; Co-author, Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation Are Changing Life on Earth, Twitter: @Evolving
Steve Gullans, Co-Founder, Excel Venture Management; Co-author, Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation Are Changing Life on Earth, Twitter: @stevegullans

Why are humans living longer, getting smarter and having fewer kids? Even more, why are rates of conditions like autism, asthma, obesity, and allergies exploding at an unprecedented pace? Though some of the harbingers of change are deeply unsettling, they also present us with a tremendous opportunity. Markedly improved living conditions and new advances in biotechnology are helping us to mitigate the cruel forces of natural selection, from saving prematurely born babies to providing gene therapies to patients suffering from sickle cell anemia and other conditions. As technology enables us to take control of our genes, we will be able to alter our own species and many others – a good thing, given how our continued survival depends on our ability to adapt in drastic ways. Join us as futurist Juan Enriquez and scientist Steve Gullans conduct a sweeping tour of how humans are changing the course of evolution – sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.

Image - Mantra and Meditation

Mantra and Meditation

Date: Thu, April 16, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Vedic scholar Prabha Duneja

Prabha Duneja, Vedic scholar; Author, The Legacy of Yoga in Bhagawad Geeta and Hinduism: Scriptures and Practices

Meditation with mantra has been highly glorified by the Vedic sages as a powerful means for inner peace and yogic unity in transcendence. A mantra can be a syllable, a single word, a hymn or a verse. It is a word of power imbued with enormous latent energy. Constant recitation of a mantra is said to enclose the thoughts into a small circle and the scattered attention into a collective, thus preparing the mind for concentration and calmness in meditation.

Fri 4/17

Image - The Islamic State

The Islamic State

Date: Fri, April 17, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Discussing the catastrophe of ISIS

Karaman Mamand, Kurdish Human Rights Lawyer
Bonnie Joy Kaslan, Consul General, Turkey
Karima Bennoune, Professor of International Law, UC Davis; Author, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here
Maher Kalaji, Ph.d., Jordanian
Dina Ibrahim, PhD; Educator, Media Analyst – Moderator
Additional Panelists TBA

The meteoric rise of the Islamic State has had a disastrous effect on the lives of those caught in its path. With a zone of control stretching across the border of Syria and Iraq, ISIS has brought its violence to bear on the diverse mix of peoples who had called the terror group’s newest fiefdoms home: Kurds and Yazidis, both Shia and Sunni Muslims, and Coptic Christians have all been brutalized by the terror group and its affiliates. As the region’s strongest political actors – Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey – find themselves ineluctably drawn into the conflict, their representatives must weigh the risks that forceful intervention and purposeful disengagement carry. Come take part as our insightful panel discusses the catastrophe of ISIS in both human and political terms.

Mon 4/20

Image - When Cultures Collide

When Cultures Collide

Date: Mon, April 20, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
International communications experts share the advances to bridging cultural gaps.

Richard D. Lewis, Linguist; Founder, Richard Lewis Communications; Founder Berlitz Schools; Author, When Cultures Collide; Knight Commander, Order of the Lion of Finland
Michael Gates, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School; Vice-Chairman, Richard Lewis Communications
Craig Martin, Founder, Martin Global Leaders – Moderator

Unforeseen cultural differences are frequently the source of misunderstandings between individuals, nations and businesses. Cultural predispositions that inform our sense of self and nationality have especially far-reaching implications for organizations working across the globe. Understanding these factors and predicting how differing cultures will interact and allow (or hinder) effective communication, cooperation and decision-making is a source of great advantage, particularly in today's interconnected and inflammable world. Among the leaders of this approach are Richard Lewis and Michael Gates, international communications experts who will share with us the advances brought to bridging cultural gaps through the globally respected Lewis Model.

Image - Cédric Villani: The Living Art of Mathematics

Cédric Villani: The Living Art of Mathematics

Date: Mon, April 20, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
In conversation with David Eisenbud

Cédric Villani, Mathematician; Author, Birth of a Theorem
In conversation with David Eisenbud, Director, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute

In 2010, French mathematician Cédric Villani received the Fields Medal, the most coveted prize in mathematics, in recognition of a proof which he devised with his close collaborator Clément Mouhot to explain one of the most surprising theories in classical physics. Birth of a Theorem is Villani's own account of the years leading up to the award. It invites readers inside the mind of a great mathematician as he wrestles with the most important work of his career.

Join us for an insightful visit about mathematical thinking and its ability to enhance perception. In mathematics, as in any creative work, it is the thinker's whole life that propels discovery, and Cédric Villani will welcome you into his.

Tue 4/21

Image - Grover Norquist: End The IRS

Grover Norquist: End The IRS

Date: Tue, April 21, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform; Author, End the IRS Before it Ends Us; Twitter @GroverNorquist

Arianna Huffington calls Grover Norquist “the dark wizard of the Right's anti-tax cult.” Newt Gingrich says Mr. Norquist is “the most innovative, courageous leader of conservative grassroots activism in America.” Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform in 1985 to limit the size and cost of government. ATR organizes the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which asks all candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases. In the 113th Congress, 219 House members and 41 Senators took the pledge.

Mr. Norquist contends that the IRS has abused and bullied the American people and proposes to replace all federal taxes with a single retail sales tax. Bring your questions for this controversial figure, who will present an alternative future where the IRS is radically curtailed.

Image - Steve Jurvetson: From Hotshots to Moon Shots - The World of Silicon Vall

Steve Jurvetson: From Hotshots to Moon Shots - The World of Silicon Valley Innovation

Date: Tue, April 21, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Steve Jurvetson, Partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Twitter @dfjsteve
Alison van Diggelen, Host, “Fresh Dialogues”; Contributor, BBC – Moderator

Steve Jurvetson believes in moon shots and puts his money where his mouth is, quite literally. As Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, he has invested in SpaceX and Planet Labs, and proved to have an uncanny knack for backing successful startups, including Tesla Motors, Hotmail and Skype. He will share his perspective on disruptive innovation, how he chooses which startups to fund, as well as his unique insights on the future of artificial intelligence, biotech and Silicon Valley.

Wed 4/22

Image - Big Weed: An Entrepreneur's High-Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal

Big Weed: An Entrepreneur's High-Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal Marijuana Business

Date: Wed, April 22, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Christian Hageseth, Founder of Green Man Cannabis

Christian Hageseth, Founder, Green Man Cannabis

Christian Hageseth is the face of the legal marijuana revolution – an entrepreneur and father of three who worked in the white-collar professional world for 20 years before opening his first dispensary. The founder and chairman of Green Man Cannabis, the fastest-growing marijuana company in the country, he provides a guide through a wild frontier where he says police hardly know what laws to enforce and parents don’t know what to tell their kids. Hageseth will discuss how he got into the business, the big corporate interests that are eager to do the same, and the full impact he believes legal marijuana will have on American life.

Image - Let's Talk about Death: How Boomers Are Transforming the Last Taboo

Let's Talk about Death: How Boomers Are Transforming the Last Taboo

Date: Wed, April 22, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With experts from SevenPonds

Suzette Sherman, CEO, Founder & Blogger, SevenPonds
Peter Stathis, Board of Directors member, SevenPonds

Nobody likes to talk about death, yet a cultural paradigm shift is taking place where the macabre reaper of the past is being replaced with a contemporary, progressive attitude toward end-of-life. Marin County's 97-percent cremation rate reflects this trend. Next year, a third of our population will be over the age of 50. As the Boomers face their own mortality, they've begun to transform the last taboo: death. Sherman and Stathis, principals of SevenPonds.com, will immerse the audience in a surprising spectrum of end-of-life choices that fully empower all people to die and grieve as they wish.

Image - Coal Wars

Coal Wars

Date: Wed, April 22, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
With author Richard Martin

Richard Martin, Author, Coal Wars: The Future of Energy and the Fate of the Planet
Additional Panelists TBA

Coal is taking a beating in the United States, but it is gaining market share in Asia. Coal-fired electricity is lifting people out of poverty. It is also frying the sky. Join us for a journey from the mines of Wyoming to China’s coal region.

Fri 4/24

Image - Arabian Shakespeare

Arabian Shakespeare

Date: Fri, April 24, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With Philippa Kelly, William Brown 111 and Asma Dhaif

William Brown III, Actor; Founding Director, Arabian Shakespeare Festival
Asma Dhaif, Masters Student in Instructional Technologies, SFSU
Philippa Kelly, PhD; Educator; Shakespeare Expert – Moderator

In 2010 three Bay Area actors traveled to the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain to teach a small group of excited women students foundational aspects of theater, aided by Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies, histories and sonnets. After just two weeks, their students performed their favorite scenes in both English and Arabic before an enraptured audience of nearly 400. From this outpouring of enthusiasm the Arabian Shakespeare Festival was born. The company now seeks to build bridges between the United States and the Middle East by delving into the bard’s universal themes of love and hate, life and death, and vengeance and forgiveness on both sides of the seas. Brown, ASF founder and director, and Dr. Kelly explore Shakespeare’s reach into the Middle East and tackle the ongoing enigma of the bard’s true identity.

Tue 4/28

Image - David Brooks

David Brooks

Date: Tue, April 28, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
The Road to Character

David Brooks, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times; Author, The Road to Character; Twitter: @nytdavidbrooks
Judge LaDoris H. Cordell (ret), Independent Police Auditor, City of San Jose — Moderator

How is character developed? In a society that emphasizes success and achievement, Brooks illustrates what humility, inner worth and moral depth really mean.

Brooks is a popular political commentator, and his New York Times column reaches over 800,000 readers around the world.