Upcoming Events

Thu 4/6

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The Other One Percent: Indians in America

Date: Thu, April 06, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
How Indian immigrants thrive in America

Nirvikar Singh, Co-author, The Other One Percent: Indians in America; Professor of Economics, University of California, Santa Cruz

Americans of Indian origin often epitomize how waves of immigrants have renewed and enriched the United States. This group now makes up about one percent of our population, and it is said that no immigrant group has been more successful. In The Other One Percent: Indians in America, Singh and his co-authors provide the first comprehensive, data-based study of the Indian immigrant experience, presenting valuable information for rethinking immigration policies. Singh will shed light on the Indian-Americans’ rapid rise as well as social and economic challenges for this multigenerational, diverse group.

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Trump's First 100 Days: Part Three

Date: Thu, April 06, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Evaluating the crucial first few months of the new administration

Harmeet Dhillon, Republican National Committee National Committeewoman for California
Jane Kim, San Francisco Supervisor, District 6
Kori Schake, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
Brian Watt, Morning News Anchor, KQED—Moderator
Additional Panelists TBA

How will President Trump’s 100-day action plan impact our domestic and foreign affairs, health care, education, environment, immigration, economic and trade policies? Who are the new people leading the country and how will they impact public policy? What role will all forms of media play as they cover the new administration? Join The Commonwealth Club and KQED for part three of a four-part series of programs that address the first 100 days of the Trump administration and how this period will shape America over the next four years and beyond. 

Mon 4/10

Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your Parents.

Date: Mon, April 10, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM
Discussion group

Dr. Richard G. Caro, Facilitator

This regular discussion group explores new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older. Not only do we uncover interesting new products at the intersection of aging and technology, we also conduct a series of ongoing deep-dive discussions into topics such as brain health, apps for seniors, hearing and wearables for seniors. The results of our discussions will be shared with a larger community of older adults interested in improving their quality of life through our partner in this initiative, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC. The discussions are facilitated by Dr. Richard Caro, whom many of you have heard speak at prior Grownups forum events.

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A Vision of the Eco-Village as the Future of Self-Sustaining Neighborhoods

Date: Mon, April 10, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Eco-living for the future

James Ehrlich, Founder, ReGen Villages; Senior Technologist, Stanford University; Senior Fellow, Opus Novum; Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Stanford H-STAR Institute; DesignX Resiliency Team Member, Stanford Center for Design Research

After over 12 years of case study research on organic and biodynamic family farms, intentional communities, and resilient and regenerative design thinking, James Ehrlich founded ReGen Villages. At the forefront of automating thriving abundance for healthy families, ReGen is a Stanford University spin-off company which develops technology-integrated residential areas. Starting with pilot communities—one in Almere, Netherlands and the other at Summit Powder Mountain in Eden, Utah—ReGen Villages intends to reduce burdens on municipal and national governments, creating self-reliant neighborhoods that can power, feed, hydrate and digest their own organic waste. Ehrlich will discuss his inspirational research on farm-to-table communities, detailing his greater vision and plans to realize solutions for the next 2–3 billion people who will live on Earth by 2050.

As a serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley for 25 years, primarily in the video game and entertainment technology area, Ehrlich designed worlds that made sense. Recently appointed to the U.S. State Department’s joint task force on the nexus of food, water, energy and waste, the genesis of Ehrlich’s personal research came from over a decade of case studies on organic and biodynamic family farms and their connection to the strongest communities around the world.

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Week to Week Politics Roundtable and Social Hour 4/10/17

Date: Mon, April 10, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Insight into political issues, delivered with expertise and wit

Bob Butler, Journalist; Executive Director, Butler Media; Twitter  
Joe Garofoli, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter  
Additional Panelist TBA

It's an important year for all things political, so 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).

SFDebate

Date: Mon, April 10, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Biweekly debate

The SFDebate is an open forum for discussion on the events of our time. It is a place where you will not only be exposed to opposing points of view, but a safe place where you will be encouraged to find and speak up for yours. SFDebate is also a meeting of minds, and we follow every meeting with continued debate and conversation at a nearby bar/restaurant.

 

Tue 4/11

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This event is Canceled

Trump Advisor Roger Stone: The Making of the President

Date: Tue, April 11, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM

Roger Stone, Former Advisor to Donald Trump; Author, The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated a Revolution

On November 8, one of the most contentious and polarizing presidential elections in American history came to an abrupt end when heavily favored presidential candidate Hillary Clinton conceded to Donald J. Trump. Many Americans were left asking: “How did this happen?”

Roger Stone, a veteran Republican strategist and former Trump advisor, gives us an insider look on how the Trump campaign appealed to “forgotten Americans” and performed the greatest upset in American political history. Join us for an intriguing conversation on how a grassroots guerrilla campaign competed against the Clinton political machine and won. 

Wed 4/12

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Amory Lovins: Peak Car Ownership

Date: Wed, April 12, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
The future of driving

Amory Lovins, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One
Additional Speakers TBA

Will the rapid arrival of robotic cars lead to the blissful end of traffic? Or will autonomous cars merely put drivers out of work and clog our streets even more than before? No one knows for sure if the utopian or dystopian vision will arrive at your front door. What is clear is that the convergence of automobiles and information technology promises one of the biggest industrial and cultural disruptions we have ever seen. It is also happening faster than even the most rabid supporters expected. Will that upheaval help or hurt the need to move away from oil and other fossil fuels to protect the climate that supports our economy?

Join us for a conversation about this revolution in personal mobility.

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Inheriting Cancer: When Risks Are in Your Genes

Date: Wed, April 12, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
How to handle inherited cancer

Evan Goldberg, Executive Vice President of Development, Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit; Founder, BRCA Foundation
Alan Ashworth, Ph.D., FRS, President, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; Senior Vice President for Cancer Services, UCSF Health; Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, UCSF
Allison Kurian, M.D., M.S., Associate Professor of Medicine and of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine
Dorene Kastelman, Late-Stage Ovarian Cancer Survivor, BRCA Awareness Advocate

Cancer might be in your DNA. Cancer-causing mutations in the BRCA gene came roaring into our collective consciousness when Angelina Jolie candidly shared her decision to undergo a double mastectomy to prevent inherited cancer. How does a BRCA mutation affect the risk of cancer for both men and women? How are genetic cancers different than other cancers, and who should be tested? Join us for a panel discussion on genetic cancer, treatment and prevention. Genetic counselors from Color Genomics will be on hand to demonstrate how testing works.

Thu 4/13

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Journalist T.R. Reid: How to Clean up the U.S. Tax System

Date: Thu, April 13, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Rewriting the U.S. tax code

T.R. Reid, Correspondent, The Washington Post; Commentator, National Public Radio; Author, A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System

On the eve of the annual tax deadline, here’s a program that promises to provide ammunition for the next time you complain to elected officials about the hassles and inequities of the U.S. tax system.

Noted journalist T.R. Reid points out the following: Last year, Americans spent more than 6 billion hours and $12 billion filing their taxes. In the Netherlands, the average filing time is 15 minutes; in Estonia, it takes 7 minutes. According to Reid, Congress has given its members various tax breaks and deductions that other Americans never receive. In Slovakia, by contrast, government representatives pay 5 percent more in tax. Reid goes on to say that U.S. billionaires can pay relatively very little tax—and sometimes no tax at all. France, Norway and Switzerland all have wealth taxes designed to reduce economic inequality.

Historically, there have been total rewrites of the U.S. tax code every 32 years—in 1922, 1954 and 1986. This means the next rewrite is due in 2018, and Congress and President Trump will need to begin revamping the code this year. Can they write a new tax code that is both fair and simple? Can they cut tax rates and still bring in the revenue required? According to Reid, this can be done. In this program, he’ll detail exactly how America can rewrite the tax code, in this case learning from other democracies around the world.

Tracking Silicon Valley's Ups and Downs

Date: Thu, April 13, 2017
Time: 12:30 PM
How Silicon Valley is faring

Russ Hancock, President and CEO, Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Since 1995, Joint Venture Silicon Valley has released its annual Silicon Valley Index, a report that has tracked Silicon Valley's ups and downs during booms and busts. At the beginning of a new year, what trends are emerging and what social and economic challenges are most critical to tackle? Come hear about how Silicon Valley's economy is faring amidst another economic boom.

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How Leaders Can Gain Competitive Advantage Through Lessons from History

Date: Thu, April 13, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Lessons from generals throughout history

Barry Strauss, Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies, Department of History at Cornell University; Visiting Scholar, Hoover Institution; Author

In his book, Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership, Strauss draws lessons from the experiences of history’s greatest generals. Strauss explains that a key component of these leaders’ successes was their ability to inspire loyalty from their troops. They did so by leading by example and, in turn, earned their soldiers’ trust and respect. In this program, Strauss will apply these lessons to today’s executives who strive to outperform competition and create an engaged, high-achieving workforce.

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This event is Sold Out

Sam Altman: Social Change and Startups

Date: Thu, April 13, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Sam Altman and social change

Sam Altman, President, Y Combinator; Co-chairman of OpenAI
Nellie Bowles, Silicon Valley Correspondent; Moderator, Vice News Tonight

Sam Altman, 31, has been one of Silicon Valley’s brightest stars for years as a founder, investor and president of Y Combinator. But, more recently, Sam and Y Combinator have both been making headlines for their involvement in some of today’s most contentious political and social issues.

Y Combinator’s new "basic income project," based in Oakland, will give 100 families a minimum wage with the goal of exploring alternatives to the existing social safety net. Sam has also been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration and has backed "track Trump," an online tool that monitors the promises President Trump delivers on, and those on which he comes up short. Y Combinator also recently welcomed the ACLU into their winter 2017 class and will help the ACLU turn its recent $24 million donation haul into concrete actions and organizational growth. Finally, Sam is in the beginning stages of a new project focused on finding a way to reduce housing costs through the creation of a smart city prototype.

Sam was named president of Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s largest startup incubator, in 2014. Y Combinator’s portfolio includes heavyweights, such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Stripe. Sam began his tech career as CEO of Loopt, which was acquired in 2012 and was included in Y Combinator’s first round of funded companies in 2005. Sam is also a personal investor in several of today’s most successful startups, including Airbnb, Stripe, Reddit, Asana and Pinterest.

Join INFORUM, Sam and moderator Nellie Bowles of Vice for an insightful and timely conversation about tech, politics and everything in between.

Mon 4/17

The Future of Digital Marketing

Date: Mon, April 17, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Challenges and opportunities for the next year

Pete Kim, CEO, MightyHive
Nikesh Desai, CEO, InvestingChannel
Mason Garrity, Vice President of Strategy, 3Q Digital
Anneka Gupta, CPO, LiveRamp—Moderator

Digital marketing is constantly evolving with incredible advancements in technology, partnerships, acquisitions and new strategic thinking. Ad-blocking, artificial intelligence, programmatic media buying, and big data are constant buzzwords we hear about the marketing landscape. Join this panel of experts across agency, publishing and technology as they discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities ahead for the next year.

Mason Garrity has over eight years experience in digital marketing, originally getting hooked at Kayak.com in college. Leading 3Q Digital's consulting and strategy practices, he works with the Bay Area’s most innovative companies and achieves growth goals through performance marketing. Prior to 3Q, Garrity co-founded Noosphere Marketing, an online marketing firm in New York City and received a degree in economics from Pomona College. Nikesh Desai is the co-founder and CEO of InvestingChannel, an interactive media platform that aggregates independent financial news. Prior, Desai co-founded the consultancy Giant Step Strategies and served as VP of business development at TheStreet.com. An influential figure in advertising technology, Pete Kim has worked with the world’s largest advertisers on improving marketing strategies across every industry vertical. He has held senior positions in product management, sales, and business development at Google and Yahoo!. Moderator Anneka Gupta is chief product officer of LiveRamp, where she oversees the execution and strategy of LiveRamp’s roadmap. 

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Digging Deep into Philanthropy—the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Date: Mon, April 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Getting ahead in the modern era

David Callahan, Ph.D., Princeton; Founder, Demos Think Tank; Founder, Insidephilanthropy.com; Author, The Givers: Money, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age
Emmett Carson, President, Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Nick Tedesco, Senior Philanthropic Adviser, J.P. Morgan Private Bank Philanthropy Centre—Moderator

David Callahan holds a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton and is the author of seven previous nonfiction books, including The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead and Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking America. Callahan’s latest investigation focuses on what he calls the secretive world of elite philanthropists—and how they're quietly wielding ever more power to shape American life in ways both good and bad.

While media attention focuses on famous philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Charles Koch, Callahan says thousands of donors are at work below the radar promoting a wide range of causes, converting fortunes into influence, with deep impact on government policy.

Emmett Carson, president of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, now with $8 billion in assets, has become a major player in Bay Area and national philanthropy, especially for tech givers, and will give his perspective on the philanthropic world.

Come hear about a power shift in American society that Callahan says has implications for us all.

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Socrates Café

Date: Mon, April 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Ongoing Socrates forum

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Tue 4/18

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Krista Tippett: Heart, Mind and Spirit

Date: Tue, April 18, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Insights about living

Krista Tippett, Host, "On Being"; Author, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living; Twitter  
Rev. Alan Jones, Dean Emeritus, Grace Cathedral San Francisco—Moderator

Note: Each ticket comes with a copy of Krista Tippett's book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living

The heart of Krista Tippett’s work on her NPR program and podcast, "On Being," has been to shine a light on people whose insights kindle in us a sense of wonder and courage. She interviews a variety of people, including scientists, poets, activists and theologians from an array of faiths who have all opened themselves up to Tippett's compassionate yet searching conversations. In her latest book, Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from these luminous conversations into a master class about living.

Join us for an enlightening discussion about her work and insights into her fiercely hopeful vision of humanity for this century.

Wed 4/19

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Vicente Fox, Former President of Mexico

Date: Wed, April 19, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Fox on U.S.–Mexican relations

Immigration, the Wall, and the Future of U.S.–Mexican Relations

Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, 2000–2006
Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club—Moderator

To the American public, Vicente Fox may be Mexico’s most well-known, modern politician. Prior to becoming president, he received a top management diploma from Harvard Business School and went on to become president of Coca-Cola for Mexico and Latin America. He has most recently made national headlines by telling President Trump that Mexico “will not pay for that [expletive] wall,” and continues to engage President Trump on social media.

Fox was the first candidate from an opposition party to be elected president. Currently, he is actively involved in encouraging leadership and creating opportunities for less favored people through his organization Centro Fox. What are the realities and possibilities for the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico? Here’s a rare chance to get a unique perspective from one of Mexico’s most prominent and outspoken thought leaders.

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Let's Talk About Death: Get Ready, Get Set, Go

Date: Wed, April 19, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Topics related to end of life

Suzette Sherman, End of Life Speaker; CEO, Founder and Blogger, SevenPonds
Sally Shannon, End of Life Coach and Consultant; Home Funeral Guide, Threshold Coaching and Consulting

Historically, Americans have been culturally conditioned to avoid the subject of death. We are reluctant to talk about it, and many of us have not even thought about how we want to live at the end of our lives. As a result, the vast majority of people approaching the end of life are completely unprepared to die. 

In this presentation, Sherman and Shannon will review ways that participants can plan appropriately for the end of life. Topics covered will include: advance directives; Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST); home funerals; and options for disposition, including cremation and green burial. They will also discuss dying at home, voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, and California’s recently enacted End of Life Options Act.

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Humanities West Book Discussion: Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff

Date: Wed, April 19, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The story of one of the most intriguing women in history

Join us to discuss Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer who brings to life one of the most intriguing women in human history. Though the palace of the last queen of Egypt actually did shimmer with onyx, garnets and gold, it was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Cleopatra died young, at 39, but first married two brothers, dispatching one in a brutal civil war while they were still teenagers, and poisoning the other, before eliminating a sister as well. She had a son with Julius Caesar and three children with Marc Antony, complicating but probably prolonging wealthy Egypt's fatal embrace by the relatively uncivilized Romans. In a masterly return to classical sources, Schiff boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose dramatic death ushered in a new world order. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.