Upcoming Events

Tue 10/20

Image - Liberation of the Philippines 1945: A 70th Anniversary Commemoration

Liberation of the Philippines 1945: A 70th Anniversary Commemoration

Date: Tue, October 20, 2015
Time: 11:30 AM

Michael Armacost, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines
James Zobel, Chief Archivist, MacArthur Memorial Museum
Richard Keith, Major General (Ret.), Veteran of the Philippines Liberation Campaign, 1945

Join a special gala luncheon to commemorate the liberation of the Philippines by American forces and their Filipino allies in 1945. Guest speakers, along with displays, memorabilia and visual documentation, will be presented.

Image - Roberta Kaplan

Roberta Kaplan

Date: Tue, October 20, 2015
Time: 7:30 PM

Roberta Kaplan, Partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Author, Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA
In conversation with Kara Swisher, Executive Editor, Re/code

How did one of the nation’s top legal strategists convince the Supreme Court to support marriage equality?? Called a “true American hero” by President Bill Clinton, Kaplan details her experiences and struggles on the front lines of this historic civil rights victory, both inside and outside of the courtroom. Kaplan will also touch on how this victory paved the way to legalizing same sex marriage nationwide.

Tue 10/27

Image - Steven Lee Myers

New York Times' Steven Lee Myers: What Makes Vladimir Putin Tick?

Date: Tue, October 27, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
What makes Vladimir Putin tick?

Steven Lee Myers, Correspondent, The New York Times; Author, The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin; Twitter  

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

In a gripping narrative of Putin’s rise to power as Russia’s president, New York Times columnist Steven Lee Myers recounts Putin’s origins—from his childhood of abject poverty in Leningrad, to his ascension through the ranks of the KGB, and to his eventual consolidation of rule.
Myers shares his thoughts on Putin as well as what a newly assertive Russia might mean for our future.

Wed 10/28

Image - Understanding Digital Video and the Future of Social Media

Understanding Digital Video and the Future of Social Media

Date: Wed, October 28, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Jon Leland, Founding Director of Creative Services, USA Network; Author, Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts Every Business MUST Know

Social media, mobile marketing and cloud-based computing are the most widely understood mega-trends that are revolutionizing online communications. In this eye-opening presentation, media innovator and pioneer Jon Leland goes a step further to illuminate how these new forms of multimedia—and digital video in particular—are creating revolutionary new channels that are democratizing media consumption and creation. Consumers are more empowered, but so are businesses and organizations as well as content creators. Anyone can now reach customers, audiences and constituencies in entirely new ways.

Surprisingly, in Leland's view, the real power is fueled by humanistic values, such as authentic engagement. Leland will explain the long-term implications of these fresh new digital video and social media ecosystems, including the veritable explosion in video-based pay-per-click advertising (via Facebook and YouTube), new content sponsorship trends (via Kickstarter and Patreon) and the latest music offering from Apple.

Mon 11/2

Image - Power Drive

Power Drive

Date: Mon, November 02, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
The future of cars in California.

Alexandre Bayen, Liao-Cho Professor of Engineering and Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley
Diarmuid O’Connell, Vice President of Business Development, Tesla

Tesla’s provocative cars have insanely fast acceleration while electric cars overall have been slow out of the gate—stubborn high costs, range anxiety, and cheap gas are all factors. While Tesla is all-in on batteries, Toyota is bullish on hydrogen cars and California is spending millions of dollars to support them. Chevrolet is racing Tesla to the middle market with its Chevy Bolt, a new battery electric car that promises a range of 200 miles for about $30,000.

Are auto dealers also putting speed bumps in the way of EVs? Is their business model challenged by cars with fewer parts and fluids to fix and replace? Transit advocates say Californians need to go in a different direction and get out of their cars, using transit to avoid more gridlock and reduce emissions that are driving severe weather. That may be a challenge when autonomous cars promise the allure of legally surfing the web while cruising the highways. Join us for a conversation about the future of cars in California in the era of high technology and high carbon pollution.

Wed 11/4

Image - Tom Steyer and Ellen Tauscher

Climate Change: Front and Center

Date: Wed, November 04, 2015
Time: 7:45 PM
The political solution for climate change

Tom Steyer, California Business Leader, Philanthropist; Clean Energy Advocate
In conversation with Ellen Tauscher, Former Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

Sponsored by Relevant Wealth Advisors and Anonymous Donor

Today’s Congress seems set on ignoring science and placing any discussion of climate change off-limits. California business leader Tom Steyer is determined to change this nonsensical approach. Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher spent much of her tenure on Capitol Hill working on national security issues and maintained a strong moderate Democrat record.

They will be in conversation about how to address climate change through the political process, how it can be changed and what we can do to support science-based approaches to policy making.

Thu 11/12

Image - North Beach Walking Tour

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Thu, November 12, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans

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.

Mon 11/16

Garry Kasparov: Former World Chess Champion and Chairman of the Human Rights Fou

Garry Kasparov: Former World Chess Champion and Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation

Date: Mon, November 16, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Garry Kasparov, Chairman, Human Rights Foundation; Former World Chess Champion; Author, Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped; Twitter:

The ascension of Vladimir Putin, a former lieutenant colonel of the KGB, to the presidency of Russia in 1999 might have been a signal that the country was headed away from democracy. Critics charge that the U.S. and other leading world powers have continued to appease him, while Putin has grown into a dictator and a global threat.

Garry Kasparov has been a vocal critic of Putin for over a decade, even leading the pro-democracy opposition to him in the controversial 2008 presidential election. He has concluded that Putin's Russia defines itself in opposition to the free countries of the world. Kasparov now urges a forceful stand, both diplomatic and economic, against Putin. Kasparov makes a call to action against what he sees as an unmistakable threat.

Tue 11/17

Thu 11/19

Image - Waterfront Walking Tour

Waterfront Walking Tour

Date: Thu, November 19, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans

Join Rick Evans for his new walking tour exploring the historic sites of the waterfront neighborhood that surrounds the location of the future Commonwealth Club headquarters. Hear the dynamic stories of the entrepreneurs, controversial artists and labor organizers who created this recently revitalized neighborhood. This tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Tue 12/1

Image - Nob Hill Walking Tour

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, December 01, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans

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.

Thu 12/3

Image - P.J. O'Rourke

P.J. O'Rourke

Date: Thu, December 03, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Entertaining and provoking political satire!

P.J. O’Rourke, H.L. Mencken Research Fellow, Cato Institute; Author, Thrown Under the Omnibus

P. J. O’Rourke has had a prolific career as one of America’s most celebrated humorists. From his early pieces for the National Lampoon, through his classic reporting as Rolling Stone’s International Affairs editor in the ’80s and ’90s, and his witty political satire, P.J. has been entertaining and provoking readers for years.

Tue 12/8

Image - Perception and Deception: Understanding Misunderstandings Across Culture

Perception and Deception: Understanding Misunderstandings Across Cultures

Date: Tue, December 08, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Joe Lurie, Executive Director Emeritus, International House, UC Berkeley

Inspired by a West African proverb that says, “The stranger sees only what he knows,” Lurie shares a feast of cross-cultural stories and misadventures, exploring the deeper cultural messages that escape people who hear largely what they’re used to hearing and see mostly what they’re used to seeing. Gleaned from his years of research, travel and managing Berkeley’s International House, Lurie’s cross-cultural experiences reveal how perceptions and cultural filters affect the way people understand others. One reviewer of Lurie’s book observed, “Already I can hear the reader calling out to a friend across the room, ‘Wait, you’ve got to hear this!’”

Image - David Gregory

David Gregory

Date: Tue, December 08, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Who do we want to be and what do we believe?

David Gregory, Former Moderator, NBC’s “Meet the Press”; Author, How’s Your Faith?: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey

In conversation with Rev. Alan Jones, Dean Emeritus, Grace Cathedral; Twitter

Join Gregory as he probes various religious traditions to better understand his own faith and answer some of life’s important questions: Who do we want to be and what do we believe? David’s journey has taken him inside Christian mega-churches and into the heart of Orthodox Judaism. He’s gone deep into Bible study and asked tough questions of America’s most thoughtful religious leaders. David approaches his faith with the curiosity and dedication you would expect from a journalist accustomed to holding politicians and presidents accountable.

Tue 12/15

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Tue, December 15, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans

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!