Upcoming Events

Thu 11/17

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
Additional Panelist TBA

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.

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.

Mon 12/5

Image - James Hoggan

I'm Right and You're an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up

Date: Mon, December 05, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

James Hoggan, President, Hoggan & Associates; Chair of the Board, David Suzuki Foundation; Author, I'm Right and You're an Idiot

James Hoggan contends that the most pressing environmental problem we face today is not climate change. It is pollution in the public square, where a smog of adversarial rhetoric and propaganda stifles discussion and creates resistance to change, thwarting our ability to solve our collective problems. In I'm Right and You're an Idiot, Hoggan grapples with this critical issue, conducting interviews with such notables as Thich Nhat Hanh, Noam Chomsky and the Dalai Lama.

Tue 12/6

Image - Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman: A Field Guide to the 21st Century

Date: Tue, December 06, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
A call for nations to be fast, fair and slow.

Thomas Friedman, Columnist, The New York Times; Author, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, The World Is Flat, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations; Twitter

In his most ambitious work to date, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, Thomas L. Friedman shows that we have entered an age of dizzying acceleration—and explains how to live in it. Due to an exponential increase in computing power, climbers atop Mount Everest enjoy excellent cell-phone service, and self-driving cars are taking to the roads.

A parallel explosion of economic interdependency has created new riches as well as spiraling debt burdens. Meanwhile, Mother Nature is also seeing dramatic changes as carbon levels rise and species go extinct, with compounding results. Today, it is easier than ever to be a maker (try 3-D printing) or a breaker (the Islamic State excels at using Twitter), but harder than ever to be a leader or merely "average."

Friedman concludes that nations and individuals must learn to be fast (innovative and quick to adapt), fair (prepared to help the casualties of change), and slow (adept at shutting out the noise and accessing their deepest values). Join Friedman for an engaging conversation on how we should think about and cope with all of these changes.

Wed 12/7

Mind over Genes: Heredity Is not Destiny—The Science of Epigenetics

Date: Wed, December 07, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., Stem Cell Biology Pioneer; Best-selling Author, The Biology of Belief

A renaissance in science is creating a genuine revolution in thought and understanding, one so radical that it is changing the world. The frontier science of epigenetics reveals that we are not victims of our genes but instead have unlimited capacity to live a life overflowing with peace, health and happiness.

Cell biologist and bestselling author Bruce H. Lipton will take you on a fast-paced journey from the microcosm of the cell to the macrocosm of the mind. This informative and self-empowering presentation on the mechanics of the mind-body interaction explores his views of how our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs create the conditions of our body and our place in the world. He has designed this presentation to inspire your spirit, engage your mind and empower you to become the master of your fate rather than the "victim" of your heredity.

Thu 12/8

Image - Steven Machtinger

Lamentation and the Limits of Philosophy

Date: Thu, December 08, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Mozart and grief

Steven Machtinger, Attorney; Violist; Independent Mozart Scholar

Mozart and Homer both understood that philosophical perspectives can be of limited utility in providing comfort to the bereaved. In commemoration of the 225th anniversary of Mozart’s death, we will listen to the extraordinarily moving lamentation section of his String Quintet in G minor performed by the London Quintet. After examining how Mozart uses musical devices to achieve emotional effects, we will compare his musical evocation of grief with passages in The Iliad lamenting the death of heroes.

Mon 12/19

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, December 19, 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.

Mon 1/9

Image - Lauren Leader-Chivee

Crossing the Thinnest Line

Date: Mon, January 09, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The case for embracing greater diversity

Lauren Leader-Chivee, Founder and CEO, All In Together; Author, Crossing the Thinnest Line

Monday Night Philosophy explores the social advantages of diversity. Crossing the Thinnest Line argues passionately and persuasively for the possibility, power, purpose and payoff of embracing difference. Already 89 percent of the world’s educated population is either female or minority. In less than a generation, the U.S. will become minority majority. The world economy is global and interconnected, and Leader-Chivee says that embracing diversity has never been more imperative.

With compelling data and powerful, personal stories, Leader-Chivee looks at challenges and solutions to immigration, education, business, media and politics and inspires Americans to rise to the challenge.

Mon 2/6

When Mental Health Meets Social Justice

Date: Mon, February 06, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
The community's role

Christine Stoner-Mertz, Licensed Clinical Social Worker; President and CEO, Lincoln Child Center in Oakland

The link between mental health and social justice issues is increasingly apparent among the impoverished. As president and CEO of the 130-year-old Lincoln Child Center, the first integrated orphanage in Oakland, Stoner-Mertz believes that it is the responsibility of the greater community to understand, address and combat these issues. She reveals steps to transform a traditional, institution-based child-serving organization into an innovative, community-responsive venture.

Tue 2/7

Image - Lauren Leader-Chivee

Crossing the Thinnest Line

Date: Tue, February 07, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The new world of diversity

Lauren Leader-Chivee, Founder and CEO, All In Together; Author, Crossing the Thinnest Line

Monday Night Philosophy explores the social advantages of diversity. Crossing the Thinnest Line argues passionately and persuasively for the possibility, power, purpose and payoff of embracing difference. Already 89 percent of the world’s educated population is either female or minority. In less than a generation, the United States will become minority majority. The world economy is global and interconnected, and Leader-Chivee says that embracing diversity has never been more imperative.

With compelling data and powerful, personal stories, Leader-Chivee looks at challenges and solutions to immigration, education, business, media and politics and inspires Americans to rise to the challenge.

Mon 2/13

Image - Elizabeth Cobbs

The Hamilton Affair

Date: Mon, February 13, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The love story behind the controversial Revolutionary-era leader

Elizabeth Cobbs, Professor and Melbern G. Glasscock Chair in American History, Texas A&M University; Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Author, The Hamilton Affair

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

Monday Night Philosophy celebrates the imminent arrival of the musical Hamilton with a discussion of a new novel about this intriguing founding father. The Hamilton Affair tells the true story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, from passionate and tender beginnings to his fateful duel.

Hamilton was a bastard and orphan, raised in the Caribbean and desperate for legitimacy, who became one of the Revolution’s most dashing—and improbable—heroes. Admired by Washington, scorned by Jefferson, Hamilton was the most controversial leader of the new nation. Elizabeth was the wealthy, beautiful, adventurous daughter of the respectable Schuyler clan—and a pioneering advocate for women. Together, the unlikely couple braved the dangers of war, the anguish of infidelity, and the scourge of partisanship that menaced their family and the country itself.

Tue 2/21

Image - Akil Palanisamy

The Paleovedic Diet: Early Human Diets and Ayurvedic Medicine

Date: Tue, February 21, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Boosting well-being and vitality

Akil Palanisamy, M.D., Author, The Paleovedic Diet: A Complete Program to Burn Fat, Increase Energy, and Reverse Disease

In this lecture, Dr. Akil Palanisamy will describe the outlines of a comprehensive roadmap to optimal health, one that combines the most effective aspects of the “paleo” diet (so-called because it seeks to emulate the diet of early humans), cutting-edge nutritional science, and the time-tested philosophy and techniques of ancient Ayurvedic medicine. He will share practical tips on what to eat in order to boost well-being and vitality, and he will have detailed and practical information about implementing these concepts in daily living.

Dr. Palanisamy is a Harvard-trained physician who practices integrative medicine, incorporating the best of conventional medicine and alternative therapies. A holistic doctor, he completed his premedical training in biochemistry at Harvard University, received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and completed his residency in family medicine at Stanford University. He also completed a Fellowship in Integrative Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona, and is certified by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine at Georgetown University. Dr. Akil practices at The Institute for Health and Healing in San Francisco, one of the oldest centers for integrative medicine in the United States.