Upcoming Events

Wed 3/18

Image - Estate Planning in Film

Estate Planning in Film

Date: Wed, March 18, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
Age-old estate planning questions raised in the popular movie A Thousand Acres

John E. O’Grady, Esq., Chair of the Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Section, Bar Association of San Francisco

Attorney and mediator O’Grady discusses the latest approaches to the age-old estate planning questions raised in the popular movie A Thousand Acres, a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” He’ll show relevant clips to explore creative ways to protect your property rights and plan for your care and financial security without giving up control of your affairs. There is no need to see the movie in advance.

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, March 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

The Humanities Forum brings Socrates Café to The Commonwealth Club. It will be held every third Wednesday evening for the discussion of philosophical issues. At each monthly meeting the group's facilitator, Bob Enteen, will invite participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic will briefly explain why she or he considers the subject interesting and important. An open discussion will follow, ending with a summary. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Thu 3/19

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Thu, March 19, 2015
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 two-hour tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Image - The Streets of San Francisco: Policing and the Creation of a Cosmopolita

The Streets of San Francisco: Policing and the Creation of a Cosmopolitan Liberal Politics, 1950-1972

Date: Thu, March 19, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Christopher Agee, Assistant Professor

Christopher Agee, Assistant Professor, History Department, University of Colorado, Denver

During the Sixties, the nation turned its eyes to San Francisco as the city's police force clashed with the free speech, civil rights and sexual liberation movements. More than just one-time flare-ups, these street-level conflicts forced Americans (and San Franciscans) to reconsider the role of the police officer in democratic society. Historian Christopher Agee explores the influential ways in which San Francisco liberals provided a solution that championed both broad diversity and strong policing by turning to the police as partners and granting them a powerful tool: the use of discretion.

Image - Tom Hayden: Why Cuba Matters

Tom Hayden: Why Cuba Matters

Date: Thu, March 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Author and Activist

Tom Hayden, Activist; Director, Peace and Justice Resource Center; Author, Listen, Yankee: Why Cuba Matters; Twitter @tomehayden

In the wake of President Obama’s momentous move to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, one of America's best-known voices of political and social activism offers fresh insight into one of history's most enigmatic relationships between nation states. He draws upon his own past as a revolutionary student leader whose efforts to mobilize political change in the U.S. mirrored a simultaneous radical transformation in Cuba. He explores the great opportunity both countries now have to finally find common ground to the advantage of Cubans and Americans alike.

Fri 3/20

Image - Future of Afghanistan

Future of Afghanistan

Date: Fri, March 20, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
A panel of young Fulbright scholars.

Rohila Jalali, B.A., Business Administration
Nangyalai Attal, B.A., English Language and Literature, 2014 UN Youth Courage Awardee
Akmal Siddiqu, B.A., Finance and Management
Ihsanullah Shagiwal, B.A., Business Administration
Atta Arghandiwal, Author, Lost Decency: The Untold Afghan Story – Moderator

A panel of young, dedicated Fulbright scholars hailing from Afghanistan and studying critical business and management fields at San Francisco’s Golden Gate University consider their nation’s future and their own personal goals for when they return to their beloved homeland. The three men and one woman are compelling figures: Rohila, who grew up in a Pakistani refugee camp, worked for USAID in Afghanistan; Nangyalai, a recent United Nations Youth Courage Awardee, pushed his government for labor reform; Akmal is a leader in the developing Afghan telecommunications industry; and Ihsanullah has taken on roles for the Afghan government and numerous international aid organizations. Regardless of their varied backgrounds, all are guided by a commitment to gender equality and open entrepreneurial opportunity in shaping Afghanistan’s development.

Tue 3/24

Image - Shelby Steele: Equality and Justice

Shelby Steele: Equality and Justice

Date: Tue, March 24, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Author

Shelby Steele, Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution; Author, Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country

The United States today is hopelessly polarized. The political right and left have hardened into rigid and deeply antagonistic camps, preventing any sort of progress. Amid the bickering and inertia, the promise of the 1960s – when many people came together to fight for equality and universal justice – remains unfulfilled.

Shelby Steele writes that the roots of this impasse can be traced back to that decade of protest, when in the act of uncovering and dismantling our national hypocrisies – racism, sexism, militarism – liberals internalized the idea that there was something inauthentic, if not evil, in the American character. He says the result has been a half-century of well-intentioned but ineffective social programs, such as affirmative action. Steele believes that not only have these programs failed but they also have in almost every case actively harmed America’s minorities and poor. Ultimately, Steele argues, post-60s liberalism has utterly failed to achieve its stated aim: true equality. Liberals, intending to atone for our past sins, have ironically perpetuated the exploitation of this country’s least fortunate citizens.

Wed 3/25

Image - Tavi Gevinson: INFORUM’s 21st Century Visionary Award

Tavi Gevinson: INFORUM’s 21st Century Visionary Award

Date: Wed, March 25, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Maybe the most influential 18-year-old in America.

Tavi Gevinson, Editor-in-Chief, Rookie Magazine; Editor, Rookie Yearbook Three; Broadway Actress, “This Is Our Youth”

It’s quite possible that Tavi Gevinson is the most influential 18-year-old in America. Despite the fact that she just graduated from high school, her résumé includes blogging phenom, magazine editor, writer, movie actress and Broadway star. At age 11, she started Style Rookie, a blog that garnered the attention of fashionistas the world over and has since spawned a corresponding online culture magazine, Rookie, three annual yearbooks and a nationwide tour. Frequently dubbed a wunderkind, Tavi is both a hero to teen girls everywhere and a leading creative voice in the digital era, covering topics – from astrophysics and Carl Sagan to how to wear a leotard “without giving a damn” – through a smart, modern, feminist lens. Join us as we honor Tavi Gevinson and her singular voice with INFORUM’s 21st Century Visionary Award.

Thu 3/26

Image - Russian Hill Walking Tour

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

Join a more active Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Russian Hill is a magical area with secret gardens and amazing views. Join Rick Evans for a two-hour hike up hills and staircases and learn about the history of this neighborhood. See where great artists and architects lived and worked, and walk down residential streets where some of the most historically significant houses in the Bay Area are located.

Image - Deep Decarbonization of the United States

Deep Decarbonization of the United States

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With scientist Jim Williams

Jim Williams, Chief Scientist, Energy and Environmental Economics (E3)

Is it possible to greatly reduce the carbon emissions of the United States and still maintain a vigorous economy? Concern about climate change impacts on the environment and economy is leading to innovation as scientists seek new ways to reduce carbon emissions. Dr. Williams and his team at E3, along with researchers at Berkeley Lab and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, have completed an assessment of the technical and economic feasibility of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Their work is based on a detailed sector-by-sector, region-by-region, year-by-year analysis of the infrastructure changes, technology requirements and costs of a low-carbon transition.

The work was sponsored by the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), an international collaboration with research teams from the 15 largest GHG emitting nations, who are developing long-term scenarios for decarbonization in their own countries. The DDPP aims to advance the climate dialogue by providing decision makers with a more concrete understanding of what limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius would mean for their countries, states and businesses.

Image - Gretchen Rubin: Happiness and Habits

Gretchen Rubin: Happiness and Habits

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
With author Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin, Author, The Happiness Project and Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives; Twitter: @gretchenrubin
Angie Coiro, Talk Show Host, KGO Radio - Moderator

Humans are creatures of pattern – we repeat our standard behaviors over and over again every day. Rubin, a bestselling author, columnist and blogger, believes that when we change our habits, whether good or bad, we change our lives. But how do we effect this change? Through research and experimentation, Rubin offers a framework of different strategies to fit our individual personalities. Whether you are an “upholder,” “questioner,” “obliger” or “rebel,” come experience how every individual can lead a happier and more productive life.

Tue 3/31

Go to Regional Transit Governance Seminar

Regional Transit Governance Seminar

Date: Tue, March 31, 2015
Time: 8:30 AM
With transportation experts and public officials.

Join us for a half-day seminar with transportation experts and public officials discussing regional transit governance challenges and best practices that shape development and growth in several vibrant urban landscapes. This event will be held in conjunction with the release of the Eno Center for Transportation’s most recent paper.

Getting to the Route of It: The Role of Governance in Regional Transit
Joshua Schank, President and CEO, Eno Center for Transportation

Overcoming Transit Fragmentation
Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director, SPUR

Transit Villages: The Missing Key to Transit Success
Rod Diridon, Emeritus Executive Director, Mineta Transportation Institute

Transit Systems: Promoting Integration
Nuria Fernandez, CEO, Valley Transportation Authority (invited)

Image - John Hargrove:  Beyond Blackfish

John Hargrove: Beyond Blackfish

Date: Tue, March 31, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Provocative views on the relationship between orcas and humans.

John Hargrove, Former Killer Whale Trainer; Star, Blackfish; Author, Beneath The Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld and The Truth Beyond Blackfish

John Hargrove’s career as one of the most experienced orca trainers in the world spanned the course of two decades. He worked with 20 different whales, on two different continents, and at two of SeaWorld’s U.S. facilities, where he was promoted to the highest level of trainer and given elite access to the parks’ most dangerous whales.

After two of his fellow trainers were killed by orcas in marine parks, Hargrove says he came to the realization that marine parks are not only dangerous for trainers, but also physically and psychologically detrimental to the whales themselves on an irreversible level. After he left SeaWorld, Hargrove became the star of the documentary Blackfish, airing widely on CNN, which tells the story of one particular killer whale that killed several people in captivity.

Hear his provocative views on the relationship between orcas and humans, and bring your questions.

 

Wed 4/1

Image - Barney Frank

Barney Frank

Date: Wed, April 01, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Barney Frank, Former Member of Congress (D-MA); Author, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage; Twitter @BarneyFrank

How did a disheveled, intellectually combative gay Jew with a thick New Jersey–Massachusetts accent become one of the most effective politicians of his time? In Frank, a candid and witty political memoir, Barney Frank relates his journey from the outskirts of New York City to Boston’s city hall to the U.S. Congress, where he played a vital role in the struggle for personal freedom and economic fairness for more than four decades. With his trademark directness and insight, Frank explores the emotional toll of living in the closet and how he became the first member of Congress to voluntarily disclose his homosexuality. He chronicles his lifelong struggle against inequality, which culminated in co-writing the most significant Wall Street regulations since the Great Depression. Join the discussion with this quirky and robust political figure.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 4/1/15

Date: Wed, April 01, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
It's no April Fool's joke! Political talk can be smart and fun and civil.

Panelists TBA

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 4/7

Image - Barry Royden: Reflections of a CIA Spy

Barry Royden: Reflections of a CIA Spy

Date: Tue, April 07, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
What does it take to work for the CIA?

Barry Royden, Former Director of Counterintelligence, CIA

What does it take to work for the CIA? Royden will share his experiences of what works, how it’s done and the process of recruiting and handling agents. He offers his thoughts on the CIA’s role in counterterrorism as well as spy motivations and their common personality types. Join Royden as he highlights his years at the CIA, including major counterintelligence cases such as Robert Hanssen, the FBI special agent convicted in 2001 of spying for Russia.

Wed 4/8

Image - Barry Eichengreen

Barry Eichengreen

Date: Wed, April 08, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Professor of Economics and Politics at UC Berkeley

Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Economics and Politics, UC Berkeley; Author, Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, The Great Recession, and the Uses – and Misuses – of History

The two great financial crises of the past century are the Great Depression and the Great Recession. Both occurred against the backdrop of sharp credit booms, dubious banking practices, and a fragile and unstable global financial system. When markets went into cardiac arrest in 2008, policymakers invoked the lessons of the Great Depression in attempting to avert the worst. The question, given this, is why didn't policymakers do better? Hall of Mirrors, Barry Eichengreen's monumental twinned history of the two crises, provides the farthest-reaching answer to this question to date. Hall of Mirrors is both a major work of economic history and an essential exploration of how we avoided making only some of the same mistakes twice. It shows not just how the "lessons" of Great Depression history continue to shape society's response to contemporary economic problems, but also how the experience of the Great Recession will permanently change how we think about the Great Depression.

Image - Black Girls Code with Sal Khan

Black Girls Code with Sal Khan

Date: Wed, April 08, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Kimberly Bryant, Founder, Black Girls Code
In conversation with Sal Khan, Founder and Executive Director, Khan Academy

“Imagine the impact that these curious, creative minds could have on the world with the guidance and encouragement others take for granted. I have, and I can’t wait.” – Kimberly Bryant

Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant is a triple threat: engineer, entrepreneur and mother. Inspired by her 12-year-old daughter’s experience as one of the only girls – and the only black girl – at her summer computer camp, and by the lack of minorities in the startup community, Bryant decided to start a nonprofit that would introduce girls from underrepresented communities to the world of computer programming. Black Girls Code is giving birth to a whole new generation of coders through its after-school programs, summer camps, bilingual workshops and much more. Black Girls Code and its students are proving to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow and the architects of their own futures, one line of code at a time.

Join us for a conversation between Kimberly Bryant and another innovator bridging the digital divide, Khan Academy founder Sal Khan. This is the first in a new INFORUM series of interviews featuring Sal Khan in conversation with diverse leaders pushing the limits of learning and breaking boundaries in their industry.

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.

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.