Upcoming Events

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.

Wed 6/1

Image - Jay Inslee

Can the Pacific Coast Lead the Transition to a Clean Economy?

Date: Wed, June 01, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Jay Inslee, Governor, Washington

Can California and other West Coast economies accelerate the global transition to clean energy technologies? The chief executives of Pacific Coast states and provinces say policies pushing clean power have boosted their economies and created jobs. Companies involved in solar power and electric vehicles agree. But some business groups say going green can hit consumers in the pocket book and hamper the economy.

What can the West Coast of Canada and the United States do to advance the goals that countries and corporations outlined at the Paris climate summit last year?

Thu 6/2

Image - Tom Steyer and Andy Karsner

Tom Steyer and Andy Karsner: Making Good on the Promise of Paris

Date: Thu, June 02, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Andy Karsner, Managing Partner, Sustainability, Emerson Collective
Tom Steyer, Member, Breakthrough Energy Coalition

This program is underwritten by ClimateWorks and the Energy Foundation.

Countries and corporations united in Paris to forge a global climate deal to reduce carbon pollution while continuing to expand the economy. Now comes the hard part.

California is pushing ahead with green policies and technologies that are creating jobs and markets. But in today’s highly stratified society, many people don’t have access to the benefits of cleaner jobs and products. How can average people engage with the clean economy? Is climate about more than pretty faraway places and exotic species? Can the United States transition to clean energy by using existing technology or does it need some big breakthroughs to break the death grip of fossil fuels?

This will be a broad-ranging discussion with a veteran of the George W. Bush administration now working for Laurene Powell Jobs and a business leader focused on making climate a ballot-box issue. They will share their vision for transforming the world by driving innovation and unleashing the power of clean energy.

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.

Image - A Manual for Cleaning Women

Book Discussion Group: A Manual for Cleaning Women

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

The Commonwealth Club's newest book discussion series kicks off with A Manual for Cleaning Women, by Lucia Berlin, this year’s California Book Awards Gold medal winner. The discussion group will be devoted to the best of California literature, as determined by our CBA jury.

A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians. Readers will revel in this remarkable collection from a master of the form and wonder how they'd ever overlooked her in the first place.

Please reserve your space; enrollment is limited. It is expected that you will have read the book so you can actively participate in the discussion.

Thu 6/9

Image - Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, June 09, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM

Explore San Francisco’s Financial District with historian Rick Evans and learn the history and stories behind some of our city’s remarkable structures, streets, and public squares. Hear about the famous architects that influenced the building of San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake. Discover hard-to-find rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, unique open spaces, and historic landmarks. This is a tour for locals, with hidden gems you can only find on foot!

Image - Anja Manuel

Anja Manuel: India and China, 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

Image - Petra, 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 historically and 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 enlightening and wonderful experience with Professor Kalaji, who was born and raised in Jordan.

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!

Go to The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence

The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence

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

Dacher Keltner, Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley; Co-Director, Greater Good Science Center; Author, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence

Monday Night Philosophy investigates a revolutionary reconsideration of power. It is taken for granted that power corrupts. This is reinforced culturally by everything from Machiavelli to contemporary politics. But enduring power only comes from empathy and giving, because power is given to us by other people.

This is the crux of the power paradox: by fundamentally misunderstanding the behaviors that helped us to gain power in the first place, we set ourselves up to fall from power. We can't retain it because we've never understood it correctly. Dr. Keltner lays out exactly—in 20 original "Power Principles"—how to retain power, why power can be a demonstrably good thing, and the terrible consequences of letting those around us languish in powerlessness.

Tue 6/14

Image - Bruce Bochy

San Francisco Giants' Bruce Bochy: Insights on Baseball and Life

Date: Tue, June 14, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Bruce Bochy, Manager, San Francisco Giants; Three Time World Series Champion; Two Time National League Manager of the Year; Author, A Book of Walks 
In conversation with Roy Eisenhardt, Lecturer in Sports Law, UC Berkeley Law School; Former President, Oakland A's

Part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer has stated that hiring Bruce Bochy was "probably the best move [Giants management] ever made.” Here’s a chance to get Bruce Bochy’s take on the Giants 2016 season and on his personal side as well. As a Major League manager, Bochy has one of the more stressful jobs imaginable. What does he do to relax? He goes for long walks as a way to clear his head, calm his soul and give his body a workout, all of which is the subject of his new book, A Book of Walks.

Here’s a rare chance to meet Bruce Bochy off the field. Bring your questions.

Wed 6/15

Image - Time to Choose

Time to Choose

Date: Wed, June 15, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Screening and filmmaker discussion.

Charles Ferguson, Oscar-Winning Director, Inside Job

This documentary from Academy Award winner Charles Ferguson examines the power of climate solutions already available. Through interviews with world-renowned entrepreneurs, innovators and brave individuals living on the front lines of climate change, Ferguson takes an In-depth look at the remarkable people working to save our economy and planet.

Post-screening conversation with Charles Ferguson and Climate One’s Greg Dalton.

Thu 6/16

Image - Dr Lucy Kalanithi

Dr. Lucy Kalanithi: When Breath Becomes Air

Date: Thu, June 16, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Lucy Kalanithi, M.D., Faculty, Stanford School of Medicine; Widow of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, Author of When Breath Becomes Air
In conversation with Mark Zitter, Co-founder and Former Chairman, Vital Decisions

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

Stanford neurosurgery resident Paul Kalanithi was 36 years old when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. A gifted writer, he spent the last two years of his life giving birth to both a baby and a book. When Breath Becomes Air describes his experience as a doctor facing a terminal illness. The book became an instant hit, reaching number one on The New York Times best-seller list. Paul Kalanithi’s widow, Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, shepherded the book through publication and wrote a moving epilogue. She will be interviewed by Mark Zitter as part of the Commonwealth Club’s ongoing series on end-of-life issues. The session will include readings from the book.

An internist on faculty at the Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Kalanithi completed her medical degree at Yale, where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society. She did her residency at the University of California San Francisco and postdoctoral fellowship training in health-care delivery innovation at Stanford’s Clinical Excellence Research Center. At the cross-section of her career as a medical professional and her personal experience standing alongside her husband during his life, diagnosis, treatment and death, Dr. Kalanithi has special interests in health-care value, meaning in medicine, patient-centered care and end-of-life care. She has appeared on "PBS NewsHour," "NPR Morning Edition," and "Yahoo News with Katie Couric," and has been interviewed by People and The New York Times. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her daughter, Elizabeth Acadia.

Fri 6/17

Image - Catherine Williamson

A Rare Book Day in June

Date: Fri, June 17, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Catherine Williamson, Ph.D., Vice President, Director of Fine Books & Manuscripts/Entertainment Memorabilia, Bonhams, Los Angeles

Dr. Catherine Williamson, who frequently appears as an appraiser for PBS' "Antiques Roadshow," is vice president and director of fine books and manuscripts/entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams in Los Angeles. She will talk about the challenges and issues facing appraisers and collectors today, and share stories of some great discoveries on the "Roadshow"—and elsewhere.

Mon 6/20

Image - Senator Barbara Boxer

Senator Barbara Boxer: The Art of Tough

Date: Mon, June 20, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator (D-California); Author, The Art of Tough: Fearlessly Facing Politics and Life; Twitter
Mary Marcy, President, Dominican University of California—Moderator

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

"One goal of this memoir is to inspire people to fight for change. It takes what I call the 'art of tough,' and I've had to do it all my life." —Senator Barbara Boxer

Barbara Boxer has made her mark, combining compassionate advocacy with outspokenness in a political career spanning more than three decades. Now, retiring from the U.S. Senate, she continues the work to which she's dedicated 30 years in Congress. She will share her provocative and touching recollections of service, and her commitment to the fight for women, families, quality, environmental protection—all in a peaceful world.

Sometimes lauded, sometimes vilified, but always standing tough, Boxer fought for her values even when her personal convictions conflicted with her party or the majority rule.

Image - Jake Myrick

The Sake Revolution: Sequoia Sake

Date: Mon, June 20, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Listen, learn and taste

Jake Myrick, Co-Founder, Sequoia Sake

Sequoia Sake, which produces the first artisan sake (pronounced sa-KEH) in San Francisco, is leading the next revolution in beverages. Sequoia blends the traditional art of making sake learned from Japan, where it has been brewed for more than 2,000 years, with the enterprising spirit and unique qualities of San Francisco. Sequoia produces small batches of hand-crafted, premium sake with full rich flavors. It is part of the new American “micro-sake” revolution. Myrick will help us understand how sake is made and how to enjoy its complex flavors and varieties. Come hear and taste!

Tue 6/21

Image - Debbie Shore

End Childhood Hunger: What You Can Do to Help

Date: Tue, June 21, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Debbie Shore, Co-Founder, Share our Strength

Childhood hunger is a problem that threatens an entire generation of future leaders, innovators and problem-solvers. Share Our Strength's primary mission is "to end hunger and poverty in the United States and abroad by mobilizing industries and individuals, and creating community wealth to promote lasting change.

Educators, parents, and anyone involved with kids and interested in eliminating hunger can attend and come away with ideas and direction about what to do to help end childhood hunger.

Image - William Kristol

William Kristol: Where Is the Republican Party Headed?

Date: Tue, June 21, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

William Kristol, Editor, The Weekly Standard; Political Commentator and Columnist
Kori Schake, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution—Moderator

William Kristol has been called “the godfather of neoconservativism.” Most recently, he has been outspoken in his concern over a Donald Trump presidency, having said, “Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination makes Hillary Clinton president for the next four years, probably.” He has also written, “Donald Trump has brought to light the rot of an ideological movement that many of us had thought was alive and reasonably well. He has revealed, to some degree, the degradation of a public for whom many of us had higher hopes and expectations.”

Kristol is the editor of The Weekly Standard, a regular on ABC’s "This Week" and on ABC’s special events and election coverage, and appears frequently on other leading political commentary shows. Before starting The Weekly Standard in 1995, he led the Project for the Republican Future, where he helped shape the strategy that produced the 1994 Republican congressional victory. Prior to that, Kristol served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle during the first Bush Administration and to Education Secretary William Bennett under President Reagan. Before coming to Washington in 1985, Mr. Kristol was on the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Here’s chance to hear from one of the major voices of the Republican establishment on where the party and the country are headed.

Image - Emma Cline, courtesy of and copyright Emma Cline

An Evening with Emma Cline, Author of “The Girls”

Date: Tue, June 21, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Emma Cline, Author, The Girls
Claire Bidwell Smith, Grief Therapist; Mother; Author, The Rules of Inheritance and After This: When Life is Over, Where Do We Go?—Moderator

This is a Good Lit event, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

The Girls, the forthcoming, highly anticipated debut novel by Emma Cline, tells the story of Evie, a young woman who gets drawn into the mysterious world of a gang of girls and quickly finds herself immersed in their world and in over her head.

Emma’s writing has been praised by everyone from Lena Dunham to Mark Haddon for her deeply insightful observations about girls and the women they become. Emma rose to prominence when she signed a three book deal in 2014, at the age of 25.

Join INFORUM at The Commonwealth Club of California for a riveting evening with Emma.