Upcoming Events

Thu 11/10

image - Chinatown gate

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, November 10, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM
A neighborhood adventure

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.

Image - Rick Hanson

A Courageous Brain: Not Manipulated by Needless Fear

Date: Thu, November 10, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Fear not

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., Psychologist; Author, New York Times bestselling Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence

Our ancestors evolved a frightened brain for survival in harsh conditions. Today, unnecessary and unwarranted fear can make it harder to speak from the heart, dream big dreams and stand up to the manipulations of advertisers and demagogues. Dr. Hanson will explore the practical neuroscience of courage in ourselves, our homes, offices and politics.

Mon 11/14

IMage - Marty Klein

Raising America’s Porn Literacy—and Managing America’s Porn Panic

Date: Mon, November 14, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Marty Klein explains the impact of sexually explicit materials

Marty Klein, Ph.D., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; Sex Therapist; Policy Analyst; Author, His Porn, Her Pain and the DVD Enhancing Porn Literacy in Young People

Less than 20 years ago, one of the most disruptive technologies in human history came to America—broadband Internet. Like most technical advances, it was immediately adapted for sexual purposes. When it brought free, high-quality pornography into 100 million American homes, the country was simply not prepared for it.

Dr. Marty Klein says we still aren’t. He says that as a result, the United States is in the midst of what he calls a "porn panic," marked by high levels of fear, outrage, misinformation, blame and demands for action.

This is the background of the conflict many couples face about porn, of the anxieties of parents, and of the self-destructive uses of porn. In this talk, one of America’s experts on pornography discusses the context of our difficulties, with thought-provoking suggestions on how to respond. Using material from his new book His Porn, Her Pain, Dr. Klein will discuss building "porn literacy" in children, in couples and in porn consumers—while discussing the scientific evidence about how sexually explicit material actually affects consumers, their relationships and society.

The subject of pornography sits at the intersection of politics, culture and our personal lives—and our audience last year found Dr. Klein so entertaining and provocative discussing "Sexual Intelligence" that we’ve invited him back again.

Image - Saul Friedländer

Historian Saul Friedländer: The Holocaust and Its Importance in 2016

Date: Mon, November 14, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
A renowned historian looks at history's meaning for today

Saul Friedländer, Historian; Professor, UCLA, Author, When Memory Comes and Where Memory Leads: My Life
In conversation with Stephen Pearce, Ph.D., Senior Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco

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

Saul Friedländer is widely regarded as one of the quintessential experts on the Holocaust. Forty years after his Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945, Friedländer returns with When Memory Comes: The Later Years, bridging the gap between the ordeals of his childhood and his present-day towering reputation in the field of Holocaust studies. After abandoning his youthful conversion to Catholicism, he rediscovered his Jewish roots as a teenager and built a new life in Israeli politics and a lifelong fascination with Jewish life and history. Friedländer went on to spend his adulthood shuttling between Israel, Europe and the United States, armed with his talent for language and an expansive intellect.

Join us for a rare conversation with this renowned historian, who will share his personal story and his insights on the relevance of the Holocaust to the world of 2016.

Tue 11/15

Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Flying

Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Flying

Date: Tue, November 15, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Is guilt-free air travel coming?

E. James Macias, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fulcrum BioEnergy
Sean Newsum, Director, Environmental Strategy, Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Annie Petsonk, International Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund

While many people concerned about climate disruption have changed their cars and their diets, few have changed their flying habits. The greenhouse gas emissions from air travel often blows away all the carbon savings from other lifestyle changes. That could be about to change. The airline industry has agreed to an international deal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

What new fuels and technologies will make that possible? Can we really look forward to guilt-free flying in the foreseeable future? A conversation about cleaning up the skies and the possibility of going to see grandma on a jet powered by food scraps and old tree branches.

Image - Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola: The Program You Can’t Refuse

Date: Tue, November 15, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
A cinema legend opens up

Francis Ford Coppola, Director, The Godfather; Author, The Godfather Notebook
In Conversation with Adam Savage, Maker and Retired Co-host, Discovery Channel's “Mythbusters"

Part of the Club’s Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather is universally praised as one of the greatest films ever made. The 1972 epic won best picture and best screenplay Oscars and was subsequently followed by two successful sequels. Join us for a rare conversation with Francis Coppola, who will take us behind the scenes of these legendary films, as spelled out in his just-published book, The Godfather Notebook. Here’s a chance to learn about Brando, Pacino, the casting and the filmmaking, along with the personal and professional qualities that turned director Francis Coppola into an American icon. An offer you truly can’t refuse.

Wed 11/16

A Holiday Toast to the 2016 Wine Harvest: Sustainable Practices and Pairings

Date: Wed, November 16, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Panel discussion and wine tasting

Lucas Pope, Halter Ranch Vineyards
Neil Collins, Tablas Creek Vineyard
Dirk Heuvel, McManis Family Vineyards
Katie Jackson, Jackson Family Wines
Allison Jordan, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, Moderator

Join our distinguished panelists, recipients of the 2016 Green Medal Awards, as they share their year-long journey toward the 2016 vineyard harvest and their commitments to environmental stewardship, social responsibility and the desire to keep land and businesses sustainable for future generations.

Following the program, continue the conversation with our panel and celebrate the holidays with a tasting of their outstanding wines!

Image - Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely: The Hidden Logic that Shapes Our Motivations

Date: Wed, November 16, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
The roots of motivation

Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, Duke University; Author, Payoff: The Hidden Logic that Shapes Our Motivations; Twitter
Jenny Dearborn, Chief Learning Officer, SAP—Moderator

Every day we work hard to motivate coworkers, friends, family members and, most important, ourselves. Some people believe in positive reinforcement or financial incentives, others in tough love. But what works best?

Ariely investigates what lies at the root of motivation—how it works, misconceptions and approaches to making better decisions in our own lives.

Thu 11/17

Image - Dale E. Bredesen

First Reversals of Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s Disease

Date: Thu, November 17, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Signs of reversal

Dale E. Bredesen, M.D., Augustus Rose Professor of Neurology, Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA; Founding President, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Alzheimer’s disease is a major global problem and now one of the leading causes of death in the United States. We have recently seen the publication of the first examples of the reversal of cognitive decline in early Alzheimer’s disease and its precursors, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and subjective cognitive impairment (SCI). The successful protocol is a personalized, multi-modal approach that involves subtyping of Alzheimer’s and addressing dozens of factors that contribute to cognitive decline.

Image - North Beach, San Francisco

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Thu, November 17, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM
Another neighborhood adventure

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 - Kira Reginato

Tips for Helping Your Aging Parents (Without Losing Your Mind)

Date: Thu, November 17, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
Taking care of aging loved ones while not losing yourself

Kira Reginato, Elder Care Manager; Speaker; Author; Elder Care Consultant

Speaking from her recent book, Tips for Helping Your Aging Parents (Without Losing Your Mind), elder care expert Kira Reginato shares her best tips for keeping your mind, temper and sense of humor as you care for a loved one.

Kira's upbeat approach outlines the basics of how to take care of anyone as they age without sacrificing taking care of yourself.

Reginato, a gerontologist and elder care consultant, draws on her three decades of expertise helping older adults and their families, as well as from being the primary caregiver for her father. She knows the weight gain, the interrupted sleep, the worry, the resentment, along with the funny and tender moments. She’s on a mission to reduce the caregiving burden she sees every day with her clients.

She provides practical methods for combating "caregiving overwhelm" and helps you manage expectations of your loved one and yourself.

Fri 11/18

Troubled Turkey

Date: Fri, November 18, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Where is post-coup-attempt Turkey headed?

Jeffrey Collins, Former White House National Security Staff Director for Turkish Affairs
Banafsheh Keynoush, Ph.D., Foreign Affairs Expert; Author
Mahir Zeynalov, Washington D.C.-based Turkish Journalist and Analyst
Jonathan Curiel, Journalist—Moderator

A distinguished panel will discuss the unsettled situation in Turkey, one of the most important countries in the Middle East, after the unsuccessful coup attempt, a tightening of control by the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and increased terrorism by Islamic State.

Mon 11/21

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, November 21, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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.

Janet Napolitano Interviews Uri Bar-Joseph on Spycraft

Date: Mon, November 21, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Inside international espionage

Janet Napolitano, President, University of California; Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; Former Governor, Arizona
Uri Bar-Joseph, Professor of Political Science, University of Haifa, Israel; Author, The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel

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

The mystery of the death of Ashraf Marwan remains unsolved more than nine years after he plunged to his death from the balcony of his fifth-floor London apartment. But, drawing on once-secret archives and interviews with Israeli intelligence officers, University of Haifa Professor Uri Bar-Joseph has stitched together a riveting story about an Egyptian who betrayed his homeland as a spy for Israel. Bar-Joseph writes that intelligence provided by Marwan at the outset of the 1973 Yom Kippur War helped prevent the fall of the Golan Heights.

University of California President Janet Napolitano will interview Bar-Joseph about his book, the vagaries of intelligence interpretation, and the advantages and disadvantages of human spies vs. electronic espionage. This conversation will be the third in a series of interviews of authors by the former Secretary of Homeland Security.

Tue 11/22

Image - David Satter

Russia's Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin

Date: Tue, November 22, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Russian politics today

David Satter, Former Moscow Correspondent, Financial Times; Fellow, Hudson Institute; Fellow, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies; Author

Satter was the first U.S. correspondent to be expelled from Russia since the Cold War. He will discuss the criminalization of Russia under Yeltsin and the role of the 1999 apartment bombings in saving the corrupt Yeltsin entourage and elevating Putin to power. He will describe what he says was Putin's subsequent construction of an autocracy dominated by the security services, and Russia's emergence as an aggressor state.

Mon 11/28

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, November 28, 2016
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 more than eight years. We are not a debate group; we are a discussion group.

Tue 11/29

Image - Angelo Volandes

Better End-of-Life Care: Using Video and Story to Aid Decisions

Date: Tue, November 29, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Making better end-of-life decisions

Angelo Volandes, M.D., Faculty Member, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Why do so many Americans die in ways they say they don’t want, suffering and tethered to machines? When Harvard physician Dr. Angelo Volandes had trouble explaining to his dying patient the possible consequences of her treatment options, he walked her down to the ICU. She immediately understood where her decision might lead, and it changed her outlook. Since then, Dr. Volandes has created dozens of powerful videos to support advance care planning and facilitate difficult conversations about end-of-life care. His ground-breaking work has attracted support from the NIH and private foundations, and his efforts have helped thousands of clinicians, patients and families have “the conversation.”

Dr. Volandes’ efforts have demonstrated the power of stories and video in helping patients make decisions that reflect their preferences and values. He has applied his approach to large health-care systems and entire states, and his work has been translated into multiple languages. His presentation will include excerpts from several videos as well as from his recent book, The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care.

Image - 50 Women book cover

Global Women Speak: Advice for Our New President on Issues Facing Women Around the World

Date: Tue, November 29, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Reports from women around the world

Jessica Buchleitner, Journalist; Author, 50 Women Anthology Series
Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, First Peruvian Woman to Summit Mt. Everest; Executive Director, Courageous Girls; Principal of Enterprise Technology, eBay
Nwe Oo, Member, United Nations Delegation, Commission on the Status on the Women, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UN Sustainable Development Goals
Masha Maslova, Engagement Manager, Silicon Valley Talent Partnership; Co-founder, El Shadai Foster Home, Uganda
Boona Cheema, Former Executive Director, Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS)

Join author Jessica Buchleitner and contributors Silvia Vasquez Lavado (Peru), Nwe Oo (Bangladesh/Burma border), Masha Maslova(Moldova), and Boona Cheema (India) as they offer advice for our new U.S. president to tackle the most prominent issues women face globally.

Will the United States take a stand to ratify the CEDAW ordinance? What will be the fate of immigrant women with children and the programs they depend on? Each contributor offers her story and unique experiences serving communities through various means.

Wed 11/30

Image - Andy Cohen

Andy Cohen and Anna Sale: Taboo Topics

Date: Wed, November 30, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Salacious gossip without the guilt

Andy Cohen, Host, "Watch What Happens: Live"; Executive Producer, "The Real Housewives" Franchise; Author, Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries
Anna Sale, Host and Managing Editor, "Death, Sex & Money"—Moderator

Andy Cohen’s back on the INFORUM stage with his latest book, Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries, and Anna Sale of the cult-favorite podcast "Death, Sex and Money" will be wringing all the salacious details out of him live.

Since we last saw him, Andy has continued to leave his footprints all over the media world, from touring with Anderson Cooper to creating his own Sirius station, Radio Andy. Andy’s new book will satiate your appetite with juicy stories about his personal and professional adventures, and everything in between. This time, Andy’s not holding anything back (especially his opinions!) and you won’t want to miss your chance to hear the scandalous scoop straight from the source.

Thu 12/1

Image - Dr Nadine Burke Harris

Resilience: A Story about Hope and Research

Date: Thu, December 01, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Linking early childhood experiences to problems later in life.

Nadine Burke Harris, M.D., Founder and CEO, UCSF Center for Youth Wellness
Joyce Dorado, Ph.D. UCSF Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools
Jane Stevens, Founder, Publisher, ACEs Connection
James Redford, Director and Producer, Resilience—Moderator

Resilience is an amazing story of research, understanding and hope for our children's futures and for ourselves. People hope that every child lives in an safe and healthy environment. Most people know that neglect, abuse and unhealthy environments are damaging to children. The new documentary Resilience is about dedicated people discovering that adverse childhood experiences can lead to poor physical and mental outcomes in childhood and can carry over to life-threatening issues and health risks in adulthood. The film is about new discoveries and research about life, health and hope for people at all ages.