Upcoming Events

Fri 1/22

Israel and European Union Relations

Date: Fri, January 22, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Ravit Baer, Deputy Consul General for Israel for the Pacific Northwest

Baer who was born in Jerusalem and received her law degrees at Hebrew University served as legal advisor to the prime minister's office until she became a career diplomat in 2004. Her first posts were to the Ivory Coast and to Cyprus. Before coming to San Francisco this August, as the deputy consul general for the Pacific Northwest, Baer served as desk officer for Israel's Department of Multilateral Institutions, coordinating Israel's cooperation with the European Union, NATO, etc. She will discuss her experiences and comment on the European situation with regards to Israel.

Mon 1/25

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, January 25, 2016
Time: 5:00 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. 

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 1/25/16

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 1/25/16

Date: Mon, January 25, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Starting a presidential election year in style

Panelists TBA

It's a new year—and a presidential election year!

Join us as we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil, and have a good sense of humor. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live news quiz!

And come early before the program to meet other smart and engaged individuals and discuss the news over snacks and wine at our member social (open to all attendees).

Tue 1/26

Health and Hope from the Ocean Depths to the Mountain Tops

Date: Tue, January 26, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Arlene Blum, Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute
Liz Cunningham, Author; Environmental Activist

From the depths of the ocean to the highest mountain summits, our planet is under assault as never before. From very different perspectives, two female adventurers share their extraordinary worldwide experiences to inspire action to meet urgent environmental challenges that face us now and in the future. Their message is one of inspiration and hope that all of us working together can save and preserve the wild and wonderful environments on our planet. Learn about their work, adventures and inspiration, now and for the future of planet earth. 

Image - Ellie Krieger: Fabulous Healthy Meals

Ellie Krieger: Fabulous Healthy Meals

Date: Tue, January 26, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
The secret of do-ahead meals

Ellie Krieger, Author, You Have It Made: Delicious, Healthy, Do-Ahead Meals; Twitter

This event is part of our Food lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

Ellie Krieger, New York Times best-selling and award-winning author, has written a cookbook devoted to the kind of recipes that her fans have been waiting for—"make-ahead meals." For those who are always short on time when it comes to cooking, her recipes—which include breakfast bakes, soups, salads, casseroles, and more—can all be prepared ahead of time, making putting food on the table that much easier.

Image - SV Reads 2016: Chance of Rain? The Impact of Climate Change on Our Lives

SV Reads 2016: Chance of Rain? The Impact of Climate Change on Our Lives

Date: Tue, January 26, 2016
Time: 7:30 PM
Living with extreme weather and resource scarcity

Emmi Itaranta, Author, Memory of Water
Benjamin Parzybok, Author, Sherwood Nation
Sal Pizzaro, Columnist, San Jose Mercury News—Moderator

Too little rain … too much rain. Either case can dramatically impact everyday life. Itaranta and Parzybok explore how extreme weather conditions and resource scarcity can affect climate change.

Thu 1/28

Image - Susan Krieger

Come, Let Me Guide You: A Life Shared with a Guide Dog

Date: Thu, January 28, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Susan Krieger, Sociologist, Stanford University; Author, Come, Let Me Guide You

Come, Let Me Guide You is an invaluable contribution to the literature on human-animal communication and on the guide-dog-human experience, as well as to disability and feminist ethnographic studies. It shows how a relationship with a guide dog is unique among bonds, for it rests upon highly regulated connections yet touches deep emotional chords. For Krieger, those chords have resulted in these memorable stories, often humorous and playful, always instructive, and generative of broader insight.

Image - Remaking the Planet

Remaking the Planet

Date: Thu, January 28, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Oliver Morton, Briefings Editor, The Economist

Increasing droughts, floods and other severe climate-driven events are raising questions about building a planetary panic button. One possible solution is hacking the sky and oceans on a scale unprecedented in human history. Options for geoengineering include a stratospheric veil against the sun, the cultivation of photosynthetic plankton, and fleets of unmanned ships seeding the clouds. That sounds like science fiction, but a small group of scientists and technologists are advocating for funding and testing such far-fetched scenarios in case people can’t kick their addiction to fossil fuels in time to stabilize the climate that supports our economy and lifestyles.

Oliver Morton’s new book, The Planet Remade, explores the promise and peril of tinkering in technologies with profound moral and political implications.

Join us for a conversation about the technological, moral and governance concerns rising from geoengineering and what it means to our relationship to nature.

Fri 1/29

Image - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Walter E. Hoadley Annual Economic Forecast

John Williams and John Taylor: Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Walter E. Hoadley Annual Economic Forecast

Date: Fri, January 29, 2016
Time: 11:45 AM
The Bay Area's must-attend economic event!

John Williams, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, San Francisco Federal Reserve
John Taylor, Ph.D., Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics and George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Economics, Stanford University’s Hoover Institution; Former Economic Advisor to Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush
Edward Wasserman, Ph.D., Dean, U.C. Berkeley Journalism School; Former Executive Business Editor, Miami Herald; Ph.D., London School of Economics—Moderator

This event is underwritten by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

With an unpredictable presidential election on the horizon and likely continued congressional gridlock, as well as external threats to the United States from terrorism, will the U.S. economy continue to improve? Don’t miss a lively discussion featuring a rare appearance by one of the U.S. government’s top economists and a veteran presidential advisor, who will give their takes on where the U.S. and global economies are headed and what should be done to keep them on track.

Dr. Williams’ research focuses include monetary policy under conditions of uncertainty, business cycles, innovation, and productivity. Prior to his work with the Federal Reserve, he served as senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers and as a lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.He holds a Ph.D. in economics at Stanford University, a Master’s of Science from the London School of Economics, and an A.B. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Dr. Taylor's fields of expertise are monetary policy, fiscal policy, and international economics. He served as a member of the Congressional Budget Office's Panel of Economic Advisers and as a Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, in which he was responsible for currency markets, international development, oversight of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and for coordinating policy with the G-7 and G-20. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University and a BA in economics from Princeton University.

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Economic Forecast at The Commonwealth Club

Tue 2/2

Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution Worldwide

Date: Tue, February 02, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Daniel Kammen, Ph.D., Professor of Energy, Energy and Resources Group, Goldman School of Public Policy, and Department of Nuclear Engineering, UC Berkeley; Founding Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory
Rebekah Shirley, Ph.D., Researcher, Sustainable Communities Rainforests of Borneo Trinidad, Tobago and Islands World Wide; Opportunities for Women of Color in Science
Britt Shaw, Ph.D. Candidate, UC Berkeley; Formerly with the U.S. Department of Energy, Clean Energy Across the United States; Clean Energy in Africa

2016 is pivotal year for action accelerating clean energy revolutions throughout the world. Join our distinguished panel from the University of California, Berkeley, in a discussion of expansion, technology and new generations of clean energy innovations and solutions that are critical and essential for healthy and safe world wide environments. With clean energy pervasive and effective throughout our planet—land, sea and air—imagine what 2050 will be.

UC President Janet Napolitano Interviews Professor Geoffrey Cowan on Presidential Politics

Date: Tue, February 02, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Janet Napolitano, President, University of California; Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; Former Governor, Arizona
Geoffrey Cowan, Dean Emeritus, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California; Former Director, Voice of America; Author, Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary

At the start of the presidential election year, come hear a fascinating discussion about the birth of the presidential primary, the involvement of Teddy Roosevelt in the process, and the influence of all of this on modern poltics. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt came out of retirement to challenge his close friend and handpicked successor, William Howard Taft, for the Republican Party nomination. To overcome the power of the incumbent, TR seized on the idea of presidential primaries, telling party bosses everywhere to “Let the people rule,” the title of Geoffrey Cowan’s new book.

For more than 30 years, Geoffrey Cowan has been an important force in almost every facet of the communication world, as a public interest lawyer, academic administrator, best-selling author and award-winning teacher, playwright, television producer and government official. From 1996 to 2007, Cowan served as dean of the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. In 2010, Cowan was appointed to serve as the first president of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands. In that role, he carries on the Annenbergs’ legacy, creating a world-class venue for important retreats for top government officials and leaders in the fields of law, education, philanthropy, the arts, culture, science and medicine. Mr. Cowan holds a joint appointment in the USC Gould School of Law, teaching courses in communication and journalism. Before his tenure as dean, Cowan was appointed by President Clinton to serve the United States as director of Voice of America, the international broadcasting service of the U.S. Information Agency. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.

Image - Joseph Henrich: The Secret of Our Success

Joseph Henrich: The Secret of Our Success

Date: Tue, February 02, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Joseph Henrich, Co-Director of the Human Evolution, Cognition and Culture Center, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University; Author, The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter

Humans are a puzzling species. On the one hand, we struggle to survive on our own in the wild. On the other hand, humans have produced innovative technologies, sophisticated languages, and complex institutions.

Henrich explores how our cultural and social development produces a collective intelligence that explains both our success and our uniqueness.

Wed 2/3

Barry Eisler, Former CIA Directorate of Operations

Date: Wed, February 03, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Inside the novel The God's Eye View

Barry Eisler, Former CIA Directorate of Operations; Author, The God’s Eye View; Twitter

Within an elaborate game of political blackmail, terrorist provocations, and White House scheming, a global war is being fought—a war between those desperate to keep the state’s darkest secrets and those intent on revealing them. In Eisler’s new novel, NSA director Theodore Anders has a simple goal to keep America safe: collect every phone call, email, and keystroke tapped on the Internet. Evelyn Gallagher just wants to keep her head down and manage the NSA’s camera network and facial recognition program so she can afford private school for her deaf son, Dash.

But when Evelyn discovers the existence of an NSA program code-named God’s Eye and connects it with the mysterious deaths of a string of journalists and whistle-blowers, her doubts put her and Dash in the crosshairs of a pair of government assassins.

Thu 2/4

Image - North Beach Walking Tour

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Thu, February 04, 2016
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.

Tue 2/9

Image - Climate Equity

Climate Equity

Date: Tue, February 09, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Manuel Pastor, Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, University of Southern California; justgrowth.org
Miya Yoshitani, Executive Director, Asia Pacific Environmental Network

Will a green economy be more equitable than the brown economy? As California transitions to renewable energy, the result will be green jobs, cleaner communities and lower carbon emissions. But will underserved communities get shafted? The environmental justice community has been concerned that the state’s cap-and-trade program puts Brazilian rainforests over communities near refineries and factories. Will Sausalito and Vallejo get the same protection from rising seas and other impacts of a destabilized climate?

A conversation about increasing equity while reducing carbon pollution.

Tue 2/16

An Evening with Meredith Maran, Kelly Corrigan and Ayelet Waldman

Date: Tue, February 16, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Meredith Maran, Editor, Why We Write About Ourselves: Twenty Memoirists on Why They Expose Themselves (and Others) in the Name of Literature
Kelly Corrigan, Author, Glitter and Glue
Ayelet Waldman, Author, Bad Mother

For the many amateurs and professionals who write about themselves—bloggers, journal-keepers, aspiring essayists and memoirists—this book offers inspiration, encouragement and pithy, practical advice. Twenty of America’s bestselling memoirists share their innermost thoughts and hard-earned tips with veteran author Meredith Maran, revealing what drives them to tell their personal stories, and the nuts and bolts of how they do it. Speaking frankly about issues ranging from turning oneself into an authentic, compelling character to exposing hard truths, these successful authors disclose what keeps them going, what gets in their way, and what they love most—and least—about writing about themselves.

Thu 2/18

Image - Waterfront Walking Tour

Waterfront Walking Tour

Date: Thu, February 18, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM

Join Rick Evans for his new walking tour exploring the historic sites of the waterfront neighborhood that surrounds the location of the future Commonwealth Club headquarters. Hear the dynamic stories of the entrepreneurs, controversial artists and labor organizers who created this recently revitalized neighborhood. This tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Image - The 49ers Champion Levi’s® Stadium

The 49ers Champion Levi’s® Stadium: The First LEED Gold New Stadium and Venue

Date: Thu, February 18, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Jim Mercurio, Vice President of Stadium Management and General Manager of Levi's® Stadium
Pat Rogan, Director of Engineering Operations, 49ers Stadium Management Company

Achieving the LEED gold certification for the 49ers new home field is the first such championship achievement for a new stadium. Its builders hope it will serve as a model for sports leadership in environmental design and construction worldwide. Join us to learn about the sustainable management, design, function and construction of the Levi's Stadium—home to the 49ers and host of Super Bowl 50 in February 2016. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] gold rating is determined by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Image - Cigarettes & Tailpipes: Tales of Two Industries

Cigarettes & Tailpipes: Tales of Two Industries

Date: Thu, February 18, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Do these legal longshots have a chance?

6:30–7 p.m.
Lowell Bergman, Investigative Journalist
Stanton Glantz, Director, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, UCSF

Oil companies have long used a page from tobacco companies' playbook by vigorously denying evidence that using their product as directed causes societal harm. Now the tobacco and oil narratives are getting closer following news reports that ExxonMobil executives for decades suppressed internal reports about the negative impacts of burning fossil fuels.

A former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer who won a huge racketeering case against tobacco companies says the federal government should investigate whether oil companies colluded to bury evidence of human-caused climate disruption.

A conversation on how oil companies might be going the way of cigarette companies with Stanton Glantz, a warrior in the tobacco wars, and famed investigative journalist Lowell Bergman, who was the inspiration for Al Pacino’s hard-charging character in the Hollywood film The Insider.

7–7:30 p.m.
Panelists TBA

Some spunky teenagers are suing some of the most powerful people in the U.S. government. They claim President Obama and other officials are not upholding their constitutional authority to protect a stable climate for future generations. It’s a longshot, but supporters say it’s worth a try, citing critical and improbable court victories in previous social movements protecting civil rights, marriage equality, and women’s suffrage.

A conversation on a legal hail mary.

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

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.