Upcoming Events

Mon 5/16

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour 5/16/16

Date: Mon, May 16, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Political discussion with Carla Marinucci and Bill Whalen, plus a social hour and news quiz

Melissa Caen, Political Analyst, CBS SF; Attorney; Twitter
Bill Whalen, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; Twitter  
Additional Panelist TBA

We'll 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 5/17

Image - Fashion Matters

You Are What You Wear: Fashion Matters

Date: Tue, May 17, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Patti Cazzato, CEO, Timbuk2 
Mike Natenshon, Founder and CEO, Marine Layer
Connie Ulasewicz, Ph.D., Professor, San Francisco State University; Researcher; Speaker; Author
Jason Kibbey, CEO, Sustainable Apparel Coalition—Moderator

Presented in partnership with Levi Strauss & Co.

Fast fashion is out; thoughtful fashion is in. Companies and consumers alike increasingly rank sustainable practices, materials and missions as core to their values. Decisions around producing and purchasing often include assessing materials, manufacturing, supply chain practices and more, and it’s not just about the “made in” label on shirts anymore.

Today, global brands hire chief sustainability officers, and fledgling designers source materials carefully from day one. Consumers do their research, and magazines and fashion blogs feature resources to help identify environmentally friendly products.

How can businesses weave sustainability into the fabric of their enterprises from day one? What questions can consumers ask to encourage more environmentally friendly practices from the brands they love?

Join INFORUM and a panel of fashion and retail entrepreneurs and experts for a deep dive into how the fashion industry and consumers are collectively moving the needle on sustainability.

Wed 5/18

Image - David Haussler

The Human Genome

Date: Wed, May 18, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
A brief odyssey into the human genome

David Haussler, Ph.D., UC Santa Cruz; Led the Team that Was First to Sequence the Human Genome

Humanity achieved the first reading of its own genetic heritage in the year 2000. That first genome cost $300 million. Today the price is approaching $1,000, initiating an era of personal genomics. We take you on a brief odyssey into the human genome, how it evolved, how genomes differ between people, and why this matters. We then look at where the field of genomics is going, especially in understanding cancer and other diseases, what is holding it back, and what can be done so that it achieves its potential to revolutionize our understanding of ourselves for the benefit of science and medicine.

Image - Steve Phillips

Steve Phillips: Brown Is the New White

Date: Wed, May 18, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Steve Phillips, Civil Rights Attorney; Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; New York Times Best-selling Author, Brown Is the New White 
In conversation with Stacey Abrams, House Minority Leader, Georgia General Assembly; State Representative, 89th House District

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

The U.S. population has fundamentally changed, says Steve Phillips, and a new American voting majority has been created by progressive people of color along with progressive white voters. Philips says these two groups make up 51 percent of all eligible voters in America, and that majority is growing larger every day. By failing to properly appreciate this reality, progressives are at risk of missing this moment in history—and losing. Phillips' new book is a searing indictment of the Democratic Party’s practice of courting white swing voters and a discussion of how America’s changed demographics have revolutionary implications for U.S. politics in 2016 and beyond.

A leader in national politics for 30 years, Steve Phillips has had a front-row seat to these extraordinary political changes. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended Stanford University, where he was a leader in the anti-apartheid and multicultural education movements. He was elected to the San Francisco Board of Education at age 28, becoming the youngest elected official in the history of San Francisco, and serving on the board for eight years, including one year as its president. He is the founder and chairman of PowerPAC+, a social justice political network that was the first national group to back Senator Cory Booker and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. 

Thu 5/19

Image - Nancy Unger

The Unexpected Belle La Follette: Progressive Model for 2016

Date: Thu, May 19, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Nancy C. Unger, Author, Belle La Follette

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

In her new book Belle La Follette: Progressive Era Reformer, Nancy C. Unger reveals some surprising truths about this radical reformer (1859-1931) denounced as “disgraceful to the white race.” La Follette fought for votes for women, peace, civil rights … and more. Come discover, through a richly illustrated presentation, the progressive activist hailed by The New York Times as "perhaps the least known, yet the most influential of all the American women who have had to do with public affairs in this country."

Fri 5/20

Image - Peter Honigsberg

Guantanamo Project

Date: Fri, May 20, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Peter Honigsberg, Professor of Law, University of San Francisco
Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Reporting—Moderator

Honisberg, whose research and teaching at USF include international criminal law, terrorism and post-9/11 issues, will discuss his long-term project about Guantanamo, which features interviews with former detainees and others associated with the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Mon 5/23

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, May 23, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM

The Midde East Forum discussion group, which primarily covers the Middle East, Afganistan and North Africa, has been meeting for about eight years. We do not debate; we exchange ideas and opinions. The discussion is considered a perk of membership, but those interested—especially students—are welcome.

Early registration is advisable.

Image - Duf Sundheim

Duf Sundheim, Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate: Imagining a New Politics

Date: Mon, May 23, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
The race for the Senate

Duf Sundheim, Attorney; Chair, California Republican Party, 2003-07

Duf Sundheim says technology has changed the way we live, work, learn and play, yet has had almost no impact on government, which has helped create a huge disconnect between people and government. Sundheim will discuss the unprecedented opportunities he sees for technology to transform government to make it more responsive to peoples’ needs, lead to a “new burst of freedom,” and form a more just society.

Sundheim has been active in GOP politics since he served as a page in the Illinois state legislature at age 18. His focus has been government reform and increased citizen participation in the political process. Sundheim received his B.A. in economics from Stanford University—where he won two letters in football—and his J.D. from Northwestern University Law School. His supporters include former Secretary of State George Shultz, Charles Schwab, and California Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Tue 5/24

Image - Ashanti Branch

Ashanti Branch: Taking Off the Mask in the Ever Forward Club

Date: Tue, May 24, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Ashanti Branch, M.Ed., Project Fellow, Stanford's d.school; Studied in Civil Engineering, Cal Poly–San Luis Obispo; Fulbright Exchange Fellowship to India, a Rotary Club Cultural Ambassadorial Fellowship to Mexico, and a 2010 Teacher of the Year Award from the Alameda-Contra Costa County Math Educators

Ashanti Branch works to change how young men of color interact with their education and how their schools interact with them. As a young teacher in the East Bay, Branch recognized, "When my students aren’t learning, it’s not usually because they can’t; it’s because they have deep-seated behaviors that are holding them back." This led Branch in 2004 to create the Ever Forward Club to provide a safe place for these young men to “take off their masks and be supported for who they really are,” and 93 percent of Club members have gone on to college. Both documentarian Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Stanford’s “design thinking” program have contributed to Branch’s efforts to grow this organization to serve thousands of Bay Area students.

Branch and a few of his students will use this concept of “taking off the mask” to show us how, in the Ever Forward Club, they "look behind our masks that we wear on a daily basis and that often get in our way of living truly fulfilling lives." That will introduce the kind of work they do, and help us understand why they achieve such excellent results.

Wed 5/25

The Science of Open Spaces

Date: Wed, May 25, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Charles Curtin, Senior Fellow, The Center for Natural Resources Environmental Policy, University of Montana, Missoula

Drawing from years of work in East Africa, the western United States and with fishermen from the coast of Maine, ecologist and conservationist Charles Curtin shares his experiences and scientific research to preserve the ecologies of large earth and water environments. His diverse and pragmatic scientific work has resulted in the development of important real-world approaches for the sustainability, renewal, restoration and health of large areas, including the United States' West Coast ocean coast line and habitats that are critical to the quality of life, economies and environments of California, Oregon and Washington.

Image - Dr. James Madara

James Madara, M.D., CEO, American Medical Association: The Future of Health Care

Date: Wed, May 25, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

James Madara, M.D., Executive Vice President and CEO, American Medical Association; Former Dean, University of Chicago School of Medicine

The AMA, founded in 1847, is the largest association of physicans in the United States, with the stated goal of enhancing the delivery of care and enabling physicians and health teams to partner effectively with patients to achieve better health for all. Join AMA CEO Dr. James Madara for a candid conversation about bringing down the costs of medicine while still treating patients with the highest standards.

Dr. Madara will particularly address what he says is America’s biggest health threat: costly, chronic diseases and their toll on public health and the economy. He says the future of health care is combating these diseases before they become life-altering ailments, and harnessing the power of technological innovation to empower today’s physicians and better train those of tomorrow. Bring your questions. 

Thu 5/26

Image - Jessica Herrin

Cultivate Your Entrepreneurial Spirit with Jessica Herrin, CEO of Stella and Dot

Date: Thu, May 26, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Jessica Herrin, Founder and CEO, Stella & Dot Family Brands; Author, Find Your Extraordinary: Dream Bigger, Live Happier and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms
Jory Des Jardins, Author, Media Strategist and Co-founder, BlogHer—Moderator

Serial entrepreneur Jessica Herrin, founder and CEO of the Stella & Dot Family Brands and author of the new book Find Your Extraordinary: Dream Bigger, Live Happier and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms, will explain how you can turn your passion into your career and live the life that you've always dreamed of by cultivating your entrepreneurial spirit.

Fri 5/27

Image - Nob Hill Walking Tour

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Fri, May 27, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM

Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original "Seven Hills." Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the west coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford, and other members of the Big Four. Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Stanford Court, and Huntington Hotel. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral, and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.

Wed 6/1

Image - How to Change the World: A User's Guide

How to Change the World: A User's Guide

Date: Wed, June 01, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Larry Brilliant, M.D., Chairman, Skoll Global Threats; Former Executive Director, Google.org
Wavy Gravy, Entertainer, 60's Icon, Activist, Philanthropist
Zoë Elton, Director of Programming, Mill Valley Film Festival—Moderator

Long-time friends, humanitarians and cultural heroes Larry Brilliant and Wavy Gravy share stories about what it takes to live your dreams, to live “ambitiously without ambition”—and to change the world. Their accomplishments, both individually and together, are extraordinary, manifesting the best of sixties idealism.

Best remembered for his role at Woodstock and as a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, clown, entertainer and peace activist Wavy Gravy’s love for humanity transcends his hippie stereotype. He founded Camp Winnarainbow—a circus and performing arts camp for children—and co-founded the Seva Foundation with Larry Brilliant.

Dr. Larry Brilliant has spent his life finding solutions for humanity’s greatest ills, notably overseeing the eradication of the last cases of smallpox, saving millions from blindness, and building technologies for the future. Today, he is chairman of the Skoll Global Threats Fund, addressing global threats such as climate change, pandemics and nuclear proliferation, and is a recent TED Prize winner.

Thu 6/2

Go to A Perfect Brew: Blue Bottle Coffee and Japan's Culture

A Perfect Brew: Blue Bottle Coffee and Japan's Culture

Date: Thu, June 02, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

James Freeman, Founder and CEO, Blue Bottle Coffee; Author, The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee

The Bay Area’s own Blue Bottle Coffee is known for its delicious coffee, clean, modern spaces and rapid expansion. Entering the Japanese market had been a longtime dream for Blue Bottle Coffee founder James Freeman, an enthusiastic fan of Japanese culture. Blue Bottle uses Japanese equipment and embraces the Japanese tradition of kodawari, or pursuit of perfection in one’s craft. Freeman has made numerous visits to Japan, and recently celebrated the opening of a Blue Bottle outlet in Tokyo.

Join us as Freeman shares the story of Blue Bottle’s Japan market entry, from adjustments the company made to Japanese culture (and what they didn’t change), to its most interesting and surprising Japan experiences, as well as the inspiration he draws from Japan’s traditions.

Mon 6/6

Image - Annastacia Palaszczuk

Queensland, Australia Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Date: Mon, June 06, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Queensland as the gateway to Asia-Pacific investment.

Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk, MP, Premier of Queensland, Australia
Jeffrey Bleich, Former U.S. Ambassador to Australia—Moderator
Introduction by Dr. Jaleh Daie, Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

Queensland is Australia’s second largest state and the third most populous, with more than 4.5 million inhabitants. The Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, premier of Queensland, is one of her country’s leading political figures.

She will outline how her state is diversifying its economy from a traditional reliance on natural resources to innovation and ideas, and the potential that Queensland has as a launchpad for investment in the Asia-Pacific. She will also discuss the strategic importance of Australia to the world economy and international security. Ms Palaszczuk holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland, Master of Arts (Hons) from the University of London, Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland, and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Australian National University.

Image - Adrianna Quintero

Environment and Climate Action: Priority for Latinos

Date: Mon, June 06, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Adrianna Quintero, Director and Founder, Voces Verdes; Director, Partner Engagement, Natural Resources Defense Council

The Hispanic Public Policy Agenda, of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), has designated environment and climate action as a priority for Latinos. The NHLA emphasizes the importance of Hispanic leadership on critical environmental and sustainable issues to their communities and neighborhoods.

Latinos face some of the most serious environmental problems. They disproportionately suffer the effects of environmental harm and climate change. Latinos are among the most concerned about climate impacts and some of the most committed to calling for action to address and move toward a clean energy future. For Latino families and communities, environmental issues are real and personal not just for now but for earth's future.

Join us for this important discussion about the bold policy agreements among Hispanic leaders to create and maintain healthy, safe and sustainable environments locally and worldwide.

Thu 6/9

Image - Anja Manuel

Anja Manuel: The New Superpowers

Date: Thu, June 09, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Can the United States be partners and not opponents of China and India?

Anja Manuel, Co-founder and Partner, RiceHadleyGates LLC; Author, This Brave New World: India, China, and the United States; Twitter

In the next decade and a half, China and India will become two of the world’s indispensable powers—whether they rise peacefully or not. During that time, Asia will surpass the combined strength of North America and Europe in economic might, population size, and military spending. India and China will have vetoes over many international decisions, from climate change to global trade, human rights, and business standards.

From her front row view of this colossal shift, first at the State Department and now as an advisor to American business leaders, Anja Manuel will take us on an intimate tour of the corridors of power in Delhi and Beijing. We wring our hands about China, Manuel writes, while we underestimate India, which will be the most important country outside the West to shape China’s rise. Manuel shows us that a different path is possible: We can bring China and India along as partners rather than alienating one or both, and thus extend our own leadership in the world.

Fri 6/10

Go to Jordan

Jordan

Date: Fri, June 10, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Report from a visit to the strategically and historically important Middle Eastern land.

Maher Kalaji, Ph.D.
Celia Menczel, Chair, Middle East Member-Led Forum

Jordan, a strong American ally, is one of the most strategically important countries in the Middle East. It is also one of the most welcoming. However, tourists to Jordan were markedly fewer this March when Menczel toured Jordanian archeological sites, including Petra, one of the seven new wonders of the world. She will show images and discuss her wonderful experience with Professor Kalaji (and one other Jordanian to be named.)

Mon 6/13

Image - 85th Annual California Book Awards

85th Annual California Book Awards

Date: Mon, June 13, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

The California Book Awards is sponsored by Bank of the West.

Since 1931, The Commonwealth Club has honored the Golden State’s literary giants at the California Book Awards. At our special awards ceremony, we will bestow gold and silver medals in several categories, including fiction, non-fiction, first fiction, poetry, young adult and juvenile.

Come hear from some of California’s most gifted writers. See you at the ceremony!