Upcoming Events

Thu 4/2

Image - Chinatown Walking Tour

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, April 02, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
With Rick Evans

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.

Mon 4/6

Image - His Excellency Artur Mas, President of Catalonia

His Excellency Artur Mas, President of Catalonia

Date: Mon, April 06, 2015
Time: 12:30 PM
The ties that bind California and Europe: A perspective from Catalonia

The ties that bind California and Europe: A perspective from Catalonia

Artur Mas, President, Catalonia

Catalonia is well known as an autonomous community of Spain, and is designated a "nation" by its Statute of Autonomy. It also has longstanding importance to the whole of Europe and even has centuries-old ties with California. Catalan explorers arrived in present-day San Diego in 1769, in many ways beginning the tale of European-California relations. Considering that California’s exports to the European Union totaled nearly $30 billion in the last three years and Europe is the leader of foreign direct investment by value in California, the ties between California and Europe remain strong. As part of an official visit to California by the president of the Government of Catalonia, His Excellency Artur Mas will speak about the development of European-California relations and discuss Catalonia’s role – past, present and future – in this process.

In December 2012, Artur Mas took office as president of the Government of Catalonia for the second time. President Mas previously served as minister of economy and finance, minister of regional policy and public works, and a member of the Barcelona Provincial Council. President Mas has also been actively involved in campaigning for Catalonia’s right to self-determination. President Mas holds a degree in economics and business administration from the University of Barcelona.

Book Discussion: You Are One of Them: A Novel About Secrets, Betrayal, and the Friend Who Got Away, by Elliott Holt

Date: Mon, April 06, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Though Russia figures in this book, the subtitle best describes the work: A Novel About Secrets, Betrayal, and the Friend Who Got Away. Set in Cold War America and post-Soviet Russia, it is a mystery at the heart of which lies the story of the affection between girls and young women, love and loss. Inspired by the media sensation surrounding the letter of an American girl, Samantha Smith, to Yuri Andropov, the book has intrigue, plot twists, and ambiguity.

Image - Tim Gunn at The Commonwealth Club

Project Runway's Tim Gunn: How We All Can Make It Work

Date: Mon, April 06, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Wisdom and guidance from the fashion teacher.

Tim Gunn, "Project Runway" Cohost; Author, The Natty Professor: A Masterclass on Mentoring, Motivating and Making it Work; Twitter @timgunn
In Conversation with Brad Rosenstein, Program Producer, Presidio Trust; Former Curator of Exhibitions and Programs, Museum of Performance & Design 

Tim Gunn is known for his kind but firm approach in providing wisdom, guidance and support to design hopefuls on Lifetime’s "Project Runway." Having begun his fashion career as a teacher at Parsons, The New School for Design, Tim knows about mentorship and how to convey invaluable wisdom in an approachable, accessible manner. Join Tim for a candid, inspirational and witty discussion of life’s lessons — from the runway to the classroom to the therapist’s office and beyond. Grab your tickets quickly to avoid hearing us say, “You’re out.”

Tue 4/7

Image - Robert F. Kennedy. Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy. Jr.: Thimerosal – Let the Science Speak

Date: Tue, April 07, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; President, Waterkeeper Alliance; Author, Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak

Dr. Robert L. Hendren, Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Director, Autism and Neurodevelopment Program, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital – Moderator

From New York Times bestselling author, and Time magazine's 2010 Hero of the Planet, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., comes a call for the immediate removal of the preservative Thimerosal from vaccines. Over a decade ago, the mercury-containing preservative Thimerosal was widely believed to have been eliminated from vaccine supplies in the United States and abroad. However, Kennedy says that dangerous quantities of Thimerosal continue to be used, posing a significant threat to public health and leading to a crisis of faith in vaccine safety.

Kennedy argues that the elimination of this chemical from the world’s vaccine supplies and its replacement with safer alternatives would increase vaccination rates by restoring the trust of concerned parents in the vaccine program — a program that is so vitally important to public health.

Image - Technology Coming of Age: In-Home Caregiving

Technology Coming of Age: In-Home Caregiving

Date: Tue, April 07, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
A panel discussion with Moli Steinert, Executive Director of SteppingStone

Richard G. Caro, Co-founder, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC
Brad Kreit, Research Director, Institute for the Future
Christina Irving, LCSW, Family Caregiver Alliance
Moli Steinert, Executive Director, SteppingStone Adult Day Health - Moderator

The sheer number of baby boomers who will turn 65 in the next decade will result in a historic demand for caregivers, which might not be met by human resources alone. Meanwhile, innovations in the domain of the Internet of Things have led to an unprecedented number of devices connected to the Internet. Can technology play a more meaningful role in supporting caregivers and care recipients? How can we harness these innovations to create new home health strategies for individuals as they age?

During this discussion, we will hear from caregiving experts from San Francisco’s SteppingStone Adult Day Health as well as technology experts and futurists from the Institute for the Future and Tech-enhanced Life to explore how these disparate realms will collaborate in the next decade and create new approaches to caregiving.

Image - Barry Royden: Reflections of a CIA Spy

Barry Royden: Reflections of a CIA Spy

Date: Tue, April 07, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
What does it take to work for the CIA?

Barry Royden, Former Director of Counterintelligence, CIA
Matt Levine, CEO and Managing Director, SourceUSA  — Moderator

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 - Dining Practices Around the World

Dining Practices Around the World

Date: Wed, April 08, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Syndi Seid, Founder of Advanced Etiquette

Syndi Seid, Founder, Advanced Etiquette

Have you ever been afraid of committing an unintentional cultural faux pas at a business dinner? Or perhaps you’re just curious about how different cultures around the world approach eating? Back by popular demand is our resident etiquette expert, Syndi Seid, to lead us through a lively discussion on how people dine in different countries. She’ll touch on the similarities and differences of eating with your hands, chopsticks and flatware, so for added fun, bring your own pair of chopsticks and a spoon, knife and fork to practice how to properly use these items. We’ll also be discussing how to eat appropriately with your hands so as not to be perceived as a barbarian! Seid's prior Commonwealth Club appearances sold out, so be sure to make your reservations early.

Image - Sal Khan with Black Girls Code’s Kimberly Bryant

Sal Khan with Black Girls Code’s Kimberly Bryant

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

In 2011, only 6 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workers nationwide were black, up a mere 4 percentage points over the last 40 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For black women, the minority of minorities in the STEM world, access to opportunities that will shatter Silicon Valley’s “boy’s club” and diversify the industry have been long coming. Kimberly Bryant is looking to hasten this change. Founder of Black Girls Code, a nonprofit offering after-school programs and summer programs for young women of every color, Bryant seeks to give Silicon Valley’s next generation of girls a fighting chance to program the future, 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.

Reception generously sponsored by Oracle and Microsoft.

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
This event is Postponed

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.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 4/13/15

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 4/13/15

Date: Mon, April 13, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Informative and engaging commentary.

Melissa Griffin Caen, Contributor, CBS SF (“Mornings with Melissa”) and San Francisco Magazine; Attorney; Twitter @melgriffincaen 
Mollie Reilly, Deputy Politics Editor, The Huffington Post; Twitter @mollieclare 
Carson Bruno, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Specializing in California's Political and Policy Landscape; Twitter @CarsonJFBruno 

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 4/14

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.

Image - Laszlo Bock

Laszlo Bock: Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google

Date: Tue, April 14, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google

Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations, Google; Author, Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That will Transform How You Live and Lead; Twitter: @LaszloBock2718

In Conversation with Farhad Manjoo, Technology Writer, The New York Times; Twitter @fmanjoo

What is the secret to attracting the best talent? Whether you’re a team of one or part of a team of thousands, Bock believes it is important to strike a balance between structure and creativity. Learn more about the new philosophy that will transform the way we live and work.

Bock leads Google’s people function and is responsible for attracting, developing, and retaining the best talent.

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.