Upcoming Events

Tue 8/30

Image - An Evening with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

An Evening with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Date: Tue, August 30, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
An American icon lets loose on politics, race, religion, inequality, sports and media

An American Icon Lets Loose on Politics, Race, Religion, Inequality, Sports, and Media

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA Hall of Fame Inductee; Columnist, Time Magazine; Author, Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White
In conversation with Van Jones, CNN Commentator

Since retiring from professional basketball as the NBA's all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has become a lauded observer of culture and society, a New York Times bestselling author, and a regular contributor to The Washington Post, Time magazine and Time.com. At a pivotal time in our history and in the midst of a presidential race that threatens to divide us, Mr. Abdul-Jabbar will give his take on the origins of bias and inequality that remain a stubborn part of America, 240 years after its founding document declared that all Americans are created equal. He contends that many Americans, out of fear and sometimes ignorance, make too many false assumptions about fellow citizens who aren’t like them.

Join Mr. Abdul-Jabbar for an unabashed and important conversation on how America can be a more unified country.

Mon 9/12

Image - Nang Attal

Lessons from Afghanistan: 15 Years into the War on Terror

Date: Mon, September 12, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
What is the Afghan future?

Nang Attal, Afghan Educator; Labor Activist
Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Journalism

A decade and a half after the United States and NATO allies invaded Afghanistan and U.S. President George W. Bush declared a "War on Terror," the future of Afghanistan is still being written. Attal, a Fulbright scholar and a bright young activist-educator, will discuss the turbulent situation in Afghanistan, lessons from the War on Terror, and his hopes for the future.

After receiving his Masters at San Francisco’s Golden Gate University, Attal returned to Afghanistan committed to helping his struggling homeland achieve labor reform, more gender equality and evasive stability. He is a recipient of the United Nations Youth Courage Award.

Tue 9/13

Image - San Francisco waterfront

Rising Seas: Is San Francisco Ready?

Date: Tue, September 13, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
The new Atlantis?

In the Media

Michael Stoll, Executive Director, San Francisco Public Press

The mainstream media, and human brain, are not well-suited to handling slow-moving threats that will appear in the distant future. Yet flooding of Bay Area roads this year can be partly attributed to rising tides and severe weather. How is the Bay Area media covering this reality?

Does climate change coverage take a back seat to more immediate concerns about race, safety and health? Are those issues connected?

At Your Doorstep

Will Travis, Former Executive Director, BCDC

Bay waters are topping the Embarcadero during king tides, and repairing the seawall along the downtown waterfront will cost about $4 billion. Mission Bay and many other areas of the city are also threatened by the certainty of an expanding bay. This section of our program will probe what the city is doing to prepare for a soggy future and protect people in vulnerable communities. It also will explore what the real estate industry is doing to protect property that accounts for much of the wealth in San Francisco.

Climate One Connect

Audience members are invited to engage in breakout group conversations led by the speakers for 20 minutes following the program. We hope you’ll take part in this unique opportunity to delve deeper with the speakers.

Thu 9/15

Image - Peace Corps program

Let It Begin Here: Peace Corps and Problem-Solving at the Last Mile

Date: Thu, September 15, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Swords into ploughshares

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Director , U.S. Peace Corps
Karl W. Eikenberry, Ambassador; William J. Perry Fellow in International Security, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University
Lie Njie, CEO, Kismet Worldwide Consulting; President, NorCal Peace Corps Association—Moderator

With contrasting backgrounds of peace and war, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry will engage the audience in a dynamic, informational conversation on the power of relationships in international development.

Hessler-Radelet has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Samoa, executive director to the Special Olympics in The Gambia, and HIV/AIDS advisor in Indonesia, prior to her employment as vice president and director of the Washington, D.C., office for John Snow, Inc. Ambassador Eikenberry is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general who had commanded and held staff positions in airborne, ranger and mechanized infantry units in the United States, Korea and Europe, before serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan, and his appointment as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

Learn from these two leaders how to make swords into plowshares.

Image - Information Age

True or False? A Field Guide to Lies in the Information Age

Date: Thu, September 15, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Daniel J. Levitin, Ph.D., Author, A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age; Dean of Arts and Humanities, Minerva Schools at KGI.

“All I know is what’s on the Internet”
—Donald Trump to “Meet the Press” as justification for his invalid claim that a protester at a recent Trump campaign event was associated with ISIS

From 24-hour news coverage of the 2016 election to Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds, we’re all on information overload. Distortions, errors, lies, misinformation—how do we decide what to believe and act on? Award-winning neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Daniel J. Levitin offers strategies and tools to decipher the flood of (mis)information in his newest book A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age.

Join INFORUM to learn how to navigate the web of lies, determine just how valid your politically vocal friends are on Facebook, and find out if the creators of all those pretty pie charts and graphs are “lying weasels,” in the words of Dr. Levitin—just for starters.

INFORUM is pleased to partner with Minerva Schools, a new undergraduate institution where Dr. Levitin is currently the dean of social sciences. Students from Minerva will be leading interactive components during and after the talk, so come prepared to get involved!

Tue 9/20

Image - windmill and smokestack

Has AB 32 Helped or Hurt California?

Date: Tue, September 20, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Assessing AB 32 one decade later

Fran Pavley, California State Senator, Co-Author, AB 32
Cathy Reheis-Boyd, President, Western States Petroleum Association

Ten years ago, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed what many consider to be the most important piece of climate legislation in the world. The law, AB 32, created a market for the right to emit carbon pollution; that market is generating billions of dollars in revenue and is now connected to a big chunk of Canada’s economy.

That carbon market has been a hot political issue in California. Fossil fuel companies launched several lawsuits challenging it, but California has prevailed in most court battles. In 2010 petroleum refineries put a measure to suspend AB 32 on the statewide ballot; voters overwhelmingly rejected it after a bipartisan campaign led by former Secretary of State George Shultz and climate advocate Tom Steyer.

Has California’s climate law created new jobs and industries? Or has it been a drag on the economy and raised energy prices? What happens when the law’s clock runs out in 2020? Join us for a lively discussion with AB 32’s co-author, its primary enforcer, and its chief adversary.

Wed 9/21

Image - Future Cities

Future Cities

Date: Wed, September 21, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Building resilient and beautiful cities

Jonathan Rose, Co-Founder, The Garrison Institute; Author, The Well Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life
Peter Calthorpe, Architect; Urban Designer; Planner

As the world’s population increasingly concentrates in cities, what is the future of urban life? Taking a look back at ancient civilizations and a look forward at climate-disrupted cities, primarily along coastlines, this conversation will contemplate how people will live in the Bay Area and beyond in coming decades. We will touch on the role of urban parks and farms, green architecture, healthy buildings, the role of trust, the importance of planning and how to build the ability to bounce back from the punches an angry mother nature is throwing at us.

Image - Feminist Fight Club

Feminist Fight Club with Jessica Bennett

Date: Wed, September 21, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Field guide for women at work

Jessica Bennett, Contributing Writer, The New York Times; Author, Feminist Fight Club 
Peggy Orenstein, Author and Contributing Writer, The New York Times Magazine—Moderator

The first rule of the Feminist Fight Club is you must talk about the Feminist Fight Club—and we invite you to San Francisco's first public meeting.

Jessica's career as an award-winning writer took her from Newsweek to Tumblr and beyond, and she’s spent years traversing the rocky terrain of the modern workplace. She’s been in the trenches, along with the rest of her real-life Feminist Fight Club, navigating the pay gap, sexism, microaggressions, self-sabotage and more.

Now, Jessica and Feminist Fight Club—her hard-hitting and hilarious compilation of strategies, insights, hacks, and vocabulary—are ready to arm women with everything they need to survive on the career battlefield.

Your ticket grants you lifelong membership to the Feminist Fight Club. Your only duty is to recruit your friends to join you.

Jessica is an award-winning writer and speaks regularly on women's issues and journalism. She also edits special projects for Sheryl Sandberg's nonprofit, Lean In.

Mon 9/26

Go to Middle East Forum Discussion

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, September 26, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group—which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan—has been meeting monthly for more than eight years. We are not a debate group; we are a discussion group.

Wed 9/28

Image - Francisco Jiménez and Lalo Alcaraz

Francisco Jiménez

Date: Wed, September 28, 2016
Time: 7:30 PM
Meet this year's John Steinbeck Award winner

Francisco Jiménez, Poet; Author; and Educator
In Conversation with Lalo Alcaraz, Nationally Syndicated Artist and Cartoonist

Born in Mexico in 1943, Jiménez spent much of his childhood moving around California with no permanent home or regular schooling. Against incredible odds he went on to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor at his alma mater, Santa Clara University.

At his family's urging he began working on a book about his childhood and in 1997 published The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child. Jiménez went on to publish three more books: Breaking Through, Reaching Out, and Taking Hold, all with Spanish translations. Widely read in schools, Jiménez’s books have given voice to families like his and introduced a generation of American children to the plight of migrant laborers in our country. In vivid language, Jiménez highlights the humanity and strength that exist in the face of poverty and discrimination.

Hear more about his amazing story as he receives this year's John Steinbeck award. The John Steinbeck Award is sanctioned by the Steinbeck estate and is offered by the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State University.

Fri 9/30

Image - E. Gyimah-Boadi

Expanding the Voice of Ordinary Africans: The Afrobarometer Journey

Date: Fri, September 30, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

E. Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director, Afrobarometer and Ghana Center for Democratic Development; Political Scientist; Author

Until recently, almost nothing was known about the values and preferences of most Africans. Afrobarometer has changed this—by interviewing nearly a quarter of a million ordinary citizens across 36 countries in all regions of Africa since 1999. As a result, we can now make important, and often surprising, generalizations about what Africans think.

Gyimah-Boadi will share insights from Afrobarometer as well as its progress and challenges in making public opinion data a pillar of African policy-making, building African capacity for high-quality opinion surveys, and sustaining this vital project of “giving voice to the people” in Africa.

Tue 10/4

Image - Roger Penrose

Sir Roger Penrose: What We All Need to Know About Physics

Date: Tue, October 04, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Separating fact from fiction in the world of physics

Roger Penrose, Theoretical Physicist; Author, Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe 
In conversation with Dr. David Eisenbud, director, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and Professor of Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley

Here’s a chance to meet one of the world’s most renowned scientific thinkers. Sir Roger Penrose, colleague of Stephen Hawking and acclaimed theoretical physicist, will separate fiction from reality when it comes to physics and discuss the fact-based truths of the universe.

In his provocative new book, Penrose argues that fashion, faith, and fantasy, while sometimes productive and even essential in physics, may be leading today's researchers astray in three of the field's most important areas—string theory, quantum mechanics and cosmology. Arguing that string theory has veered away from physical reality by positing six extra hidden dimensions, Penrose cautions that the fashionable nature of a theory can cloud our judgment of its plausibility. In the case of quantum mechanics, its stunning success in explaining the atomic universe has led to an uncritical faith that it must also apply to reasonably massive objects, and Penrose responds with suggestions for possible changes in quantum theory. Turning to cosmology, he argues that most of the current fantastical ideas about the origins of the universe cannot be true, but that an even wilder reality may lie behind them. Penrose even describes how fashion, faith, and fantasy have ironically also shaped his own work.

Come for a discussion that will illuminate physics and its significance to all of us.

Wed 10/5

Image - Tara Smith

Can Courts Get the Law Right? Judicial Review’s Problem with Objectivity

Date: Wed, October 05, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Judicial review and the rule of law

Tara Smith, Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin; Author, Judicial Review in an Objective Legal System

The best laws in the world are useless if they are misunderstood by the courts. Yet the debate over judicial review—proper interpretation of laws—tends to be a minefield of loaded concepts, straw men and false alternatives. Tara Smith explains the pillars of objective law and the essentials needed to restore objective judicial review. Hear Smith's unique perspective on the originalism vs. living constitution vs. minimalism debate.

Image - windmills

California Power Politics

Date: Wed, October 05, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Heated political issues

Kevin de Leon, President, California State Senate (D-Los Angeles)

Climate disruption and the California drought have been mocked or marginalized in the national political debate. Are Republicans and Democrats in California similarly divided? Where can they agree on water, energy, agriculture and other issues related to the changing climate? Climate impacts such as massive forest fires, rising tides, and severe storms are hitting the state today. Governor Jerry Brown is trying to extend the state’s main climate law, AB 32. Is that going to happen?

A conversation about power and politics at the state and regional level in this wild election year.

Thu 10/6

Image - China Economic Slowdown

China’s Economic Slowdown: Will It Hurt the U.S. and the World?

Date: Thu, October 06, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
What is happening in China, and how does it affect the rest of us?

Yingyi Qian, Dean and Professor, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, China
Nicholas Lardy, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Board Member, Asia Policy and The China Review
George Lewinski, Former Foreign Editor, "Marketplace"—Moderator

With China's growth slower than it has been in 25 years, it is undoubtable that China is experiencing an economic slowdown. The government has made changes to stabilize the situation and move the economy toward "a new normal." Our panelists will discuss the different kinds of reforms China is working on now, and how likely these reforms are to succeed.

What does it mean for Americans if these reforms succeed—or if these reforms fail? Do we need to fear a stronger China, or moreso, a weaker one?

Fri 10/7

Go to From Arab Spring to Islamic State: A Regional Perspective

From Arab Spring to Islamic State: A Regional Perspective

Date: Fri, October 07, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Middle Eastern upheavals

Banafsheh Keynoush, Ph.D., Foreign Affairs Scholar; Author
Dina Ibrahim, Ph.D., Middle East Analyst, Educator
Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Reporting—Moderator

Dr. Keynoush and Dr. Ibrahim will trace the demise of the Arab Spring and the violent rise and threat of Islamic State with Robert Rosenthal, a former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Dr. Keynoush is an advisor to policy centers in the Middle East, translator to four Iranian presidents, and author of Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes. Dr.Ibrahim is associate professor of broadcast and electronic communication arts at San Francisco State, associate producer of Hope and Fear: Egypt at the Tipping Point, and she has contributed to BBC, NPR, CNN and other news outlets.

Mon 10/10

Image - Sophia Amoruso

#Girlboss Sophia Amoruso

Date: Mon, October 10, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
San Francisco entrepreneurial success and misfit heroine

Sophia Amoruso, Author, Nasty Galaxy and New York Times best-seller #Girlboss; Founder and CEO, Nasty Gal; Founder, #Girlboss Foundation; Host, #Girlboss Radio 
Alison Pincus, Co-Founder, One Kings Lane; Co-Founder, HelloMazel—Moderator

Come get nasty with Nasty Gal’s #Girlboss Sophia Amoruso, at INFORUM!

An entrepreneur and style-setter, Sophia’s life has been one wild ride, and we know it’s just the beginning! In the 2000s, she was a security monitor at the San Francisco Academy of Art, dumpster diving for food and selling stolen books on eBay before founding Nasty Gal in 2006. Just a decade later, in 2016, Forbes named Sophia one of the youngest and richest self-made women in America—surpassing fellow #Girlboss Beyonce.

Sophia launched her company, Nasty Gal, on eBay, reselling vintage clothes she scavenged from thrift stores. Nasty Gal quickly grew, growing from a makeshift store in Sophia’s living room to a fashion powerhouse, both online and brick-and-mortar, in less than a decade. Women around the world snap up Nasty Gal’s cutting-edge fashions with a vintage touch, and Sophia’s influence is evident on magazine covers, Pinterest, the runway and beyond.

Sophia’s success isn’t just limited to fashion—she’s creating an empire. Sophia champions aspiring female entrepreneurs through her #Girlboss Foundation, and shares stories of other creative, successful women on her popular podcast #Girlboss Radio, with guests like Charlize Theron. Her first book, #Girlboss, dubbed “Lean In for misfits,” is a New York Times bestseller and is currently being turned into a Netflix original series (taping in San Francisco this fall!).

Sophia will take INFORUM on a trip into her latest book, Nasty Galaxy, giving us the inside scoop about her unconventional approach to style, music, philosophy and advice.

Tue 10/11

Image - Steve Blake

Parkinson’s Disease: Nutritional Therapy

Date: Tue, October 11, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Can diet affect Parkinson's disease?

Steve Blake, Sc.D., Faculty Nutritional Biochemist, Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience; Author, Vitamins and Minerals Demystified and Parkinson’s Disease: Dietary Regulation of Dopamine

Parkinson’s disease involves a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Symptoms can include tremor, rigidity and slow movements. In this program, you will learn about changes in dietary protein that have been found to reduce these symptoms by half.

Neurodegeneration is the loss of function and death of our brain cells. Why do our brain cells lose function and die? Learn about specific pollutants in certain foods that can damage our ability to make dopamine, and which foods harbor these persistent organic pollutants and how to avoid them. In contrast, certain foods and nutrients can help protect brain cells and slow degeneration. Since Parkinson’s disease symptoms do not often show up before half of the dopamine-producing brain cells are gone, all of us can benefit from proactive risk reduction.

Steve Blake is faculty nutritional biochemist at Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience. He is a research scientist who has just finished a clinical study successfully using nutrients to combat neurodegeneration. Among his publications, he authored the Diet Doctor software to analyze dietary nutrients.

Go to From Moldova to Mountain View: Technovation Challenges Girls to Code Solutions to Social Problems

From Moldova to Mountain View: Technovation Challenges Girls to Code Solutions to Social Problems

Date: Tue, October 11, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
The Technovation Challenge

Madhavi Bhasin, Global Partnerships Director, Technovation
Allie Holmes, Events & Engagement Director, Technovation

Technovation, a flagship program of non-profit Iridescent, is the world’s largest global tech entrepreneurship competition for girls. The program offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders. Every year, Technovation challenges 10- to 18-year-old girls to build a business plan and mobile app that will address a community problem. Since 2009, more than 10,000 girls have participated from more than 87 countries.

The international reach of the competition has escalated in the last three years. The winner of the 2014 competition was from Moldova, and the 2015 winner was a Nigerian team. Bhasin and Holmes will give an overview of the competition, its sponsors (Google, Facebook, and others), outreach efforts, and partners (such as UN Women, Peace Corps, and more).

Fri 10/14

Image - Nancy Cohen

Nancy Cohen: Is the U.S. Ready to Elect a Woman President?

Date: Fri, October 14, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Gender politics in the nation's highest office

Nancy L. Cohen, Historian; Author, Breakthrough: The Making of America’s First Woman President
In conversation with Dan Ashley, ABC 7 News Anchor; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

With election day just a few weeks away, Nancy Cohen, a frequent writer and commentator on women's political leadership, will draw on some 125 interviews with elected officials and strategists of both parties to assess the history of women's experience in politics, the changing political climate, and the current prospects for Hillary Clinton to win the country's highest elective office.

Dr. Cohen is author of four books, including the widely acclaimed Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America and The Reconstruction of American Liberalism. Her writing on American politics has appeared in the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, and Rolling Stone. She has taught politics and history at Occidental College, UCLA and Cal State Long Beach, and holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University.