Upcoming Events

Thu 3/12

Go to 2015: Critical Year for Planet Earth

2015: Critical Year for Planet Earth

Date: Thu, March 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

James Fahn, Executive Director, Internews' Earth Journalism Network; Journalism Lecturer, UC Berkeley
David Akana, Journalist, Cameroon
Gustavo Faleiros, Journalist, Brazil
Neha Sethi, Journalist, India; Visiting Scholar, UC Berkeley
Mark Schapiro, Journalist, United States; Author, Carbon Shock

This year is going to be crucial for the earth's climate and for the future of our planet. Diplomats and other stakeholders will be gathering in Paris in December 2015 to try to finally agree on an international protocol that will coordinate concerted and collaborative action against global warming.

Earth Journalism Network has been reporting on climate summits since Kyoto in 1997. Join us to hear from these seasoned journalists who cover climate change, the impacts of global warming and the future of our planet.

Go to Like Moths to A Flame: Technology Innovators

Like Moths to A Flame: Technology Innovators

Date: Thu, March 12, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
The diverse landscape of Silicon Valley

Privahini Bradoo, CEO and Co-Founder, BlueOak
Miro Salem, CEO and Founder, 3TEN8
Alex Torrenegra, CEO and Co-Founder, Bunny Inc.
Geetha Vallabhaneni, CEO, Luminix
Barbara Marshman, Editorial Page Editor, The San Jose Mercury News – Moderator

Santa Clara County – home to Silicon Valley’s flourishing tech scene – is made up of a multitude of different ethnicities, with more than one-third of its residents born outside of the United States. This diversity is reflected in the backgrounds of many of its tech industry leaders, who, while hailing from countries as diverse as India and Colombia, all flocked to the innovation mecca of Northern California. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and an uncompromising creativity, many have found success in building up their own brands from scratch, but often not without trials along the way. Join our panel of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, all born outside of the United State, as they discuss why technology innovators leave their homelands to start businesses here in the Bay Area.

Mon 3/16

Image - The Amazons

The Amazons

Date: Mon, March 16, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Were these ancient warrior women fact or fiction?

Adrienne Mayor, Research Scholar, Classics and History and Philosophy of Science, Stanford University

Amazons – fierce warrior women dwelling on the fringes of the known world – were the mythic archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Heracles and Achilles dueled Amazon queens, and Cyrus of Persia, Alexander the Great and Pompey each tangled with them. But who were these bold barbarian archers on horseback? Were Amazons real? Mayor's is the first comprehensive account of warrior women in myth and history across the ancient world, including new archaeological discoveries of battle-scarred female skeletons buried with their weapons. Mayor argues that a timeless search for a balance between the sexes explains the allure of the Amazons and reminds us that there were as many Amazon love stories as there were war stories.

Tue 3/17

Image - The Allure of Irish Dancing

The Allure of Irish Dancing

Date: Tue, March 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Michael Dillon of the Dillon Magh Adhair Academy of Irish Dance

Michael Dillon, ADCRG, Dillon Magh Adhair Academy of Irish Dance

Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a demonstration of Irish dancing by championship-level dancers from a renowned Bay Area dance school. Dillon, an Ard Diploma Coimisiuin le Rinci Gaelacha (a teacher certified by the worldwide governing body of Irish dance), will also explain the history that permeates this detailed and disciplined dance culture. This will be the perfect pre-pub experience, as you are sure to leave with your feet tapping out a jig — or maybe even a reel.

Wed 3/18

Go to Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman: The Untold Story of Psychiatry

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman: The Untold Story of Psychiatry

Date: Wed, March 18, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D.; Lawrence C. Kolb Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Author, Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychology

Psychiatry has come a long way since the days of cruelly chaining "lunatics" in cold cells and parading them as freakish marvels before a gaping public. However, the path to legitimacy for "the black sheep of medicine" has been anything but smooth. Through a period that saw hydrotherapy, lobotomies and primal screaming regularly used as treatments, psychiatry has endured serious growing pains on its way to becoming an accepted evidence-based profession. Dr. Lieberman traces the history of the field, from its birth as a mystic pseudo-science to its maturity, all the while arguing that we dispel the stigma linked to mental illnesses and treat them as diseases rather than as unfortunate states of mind.

Image - Estate Planning in Film

Estate Planning in Film

Date: Wed, March 18, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
Age-old estate planning questions raised in the popular movie A Thousand Acres

John E. O’Grady, Esq., Chair of the Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Section, Bar Association of San Francisco

Attorney and mediator O’Grady discusses the latest approaches to the age-old estate planning questions raised in the popular movie A Thousand Acres, a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” He’ll show relevant clips to explore creative ways to protect your property rights and plan for your care and financial security without giving up control of your affairs. There is no need to see the movie in advance.

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, March 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

The Humanities Forum brings Socrates Café to The Commonwealth Club. It will be held every third Wednesday evening for the discussion of philosophical issues. At each monthly meeting the group's facilitator, Bob Enteen, will invite participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic will briefly explain why she or he considers the subject interesting and important. An open discussion will follow, ending with a summary. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Thu 3/19

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Thu, March 19, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

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 two-hour tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Image - The Streets of San Francisco: Policing and the Creation of a Cosmopolita

The Streets of San Francisco: Policing and the Creation of a Cosmopolitan Liberal Politics, 1950-1972

Date: Thu, March 19, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Christopher Agee, Assistant Professor

Christopher Agee, Assistant Professor, History Department, University of Colorado, Denver

During the Sixties, the nation turned its eyes to San Francisco as the city's police force clashed with the free speech, civil rights and sexual liberation movements. More than just one-time flare-ups, these street-level conflicts forced Americans (and San Franciscans) to reconsider the role of the police officer in democratic society. Historian Christopher Agee explores the influential ways in which San Francisco liberals provided a solution that championed both broad diversity and strong policing by turning to the police as partners and granting them a powerful tool: the use of discretion.

Image - Tom Hayden: Why Cuba Matters

Tom Hayden: Why Cuba Matters

Date: Thu, March 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Author and Activist

Tom Hayden, Activist; Director, Peace and Justice Resource Center; Author, Listen, Yankee: Why Cuba Matters; Twitter @tomehayden

In the wake of President Obama’s momentous move to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, one of America's best-known voices of political and social activism offers fresh insight into one of history's most enigmatic relationships between nation states. He draws upon his own past as a revolutionary student leader whose efforts to mobilize political change in the U.S. mirrored a simultaneous radical transformation in Cuba. He explores the great opportunity both countries now have to finally find common ground to the advantage of Cubans and Americans alike.

Fri 3/20

Image - Future of Afghanistan

Future of Afghanistan

Date: Fri, March 20, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
A panel of young Fulbright scholars.

Rohila Jalali, B.A., Business Administration
Nangyalai Attal, B.A., English Language and Literature, 2014 UN Youth Courage Awardee
Akmal Siddiqu, B.A., Finance and Management
Ihsanullah Shagiwal, B.A., Business Administration
Atta Arghandiwal, Author, Lost Decency: The Untold Afghan Story – Moderator

A panel of young, dedicated Fulbright scholars hailing from Afghanistan and studying critical business and management fields at San Francisco’s Golden Gate University consider their nation’s future and their own personal goals for when they return to their beloved homeland. The three men and one woman are compelling figures: Rohila, who grew up in a Pakistani refugee camp, worked for USAID in Afghanistan; Nangyalai, a recent United Nations Youth Courage Awardee, pushed his government for labor reform; Akmal is a leader in the developing Afghan telecommunications industry; and Ihsanullah has taken on roles for the Afghan government and numerous international aid organizations. Regardless of their varied backgrounds, all are guided by a commitment to gender equality and open entrepreneurial opportunity in shaping Afghanistan’s development.

Tue 3/24

Image - Shelby Steele: Equality and Justice

Shelby Steele: Equality and Justice

Date: Tue, March 24, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Author

Shelby Steele, Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution; Author, Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country

The United States today is hopelessly polarized. The political right and left have hardened into rigid and deeply antagonistic camps, preventing any sort of progress. Amid the bickering and inertia, the promise of the 1960s – when many people came together to fight for equality and universal justice – remains unfulfilled.

Shelby Steele writes that the roots of this impasse can be traced back to that decade of protest, when in the act of uncovering and dismantling our national hypocrisies – racism, sexism, militarism – liberals internalized the idea that there was something inauthentic, if not evil, in the American character. He says the result has been a half-century of well-intentioned but ineffective social programs, such as affirmative action. Steele believes that not only have these programs failed but they also have in almost every case actively harmed America’s minorities and poor. Ultimately, Steele argues, post-60s liberalism has utterly failed to achieve its stated aim: true equality. Liberals, intending to atone for our past sins, have ironically perpetuated the exploitation of this country’s least fortunate citizens.

Wed 3/25

Image - Tavi Gevinson: INFORUM’s 21st Century Visionary Award

Tavi Gevinson: INFORUM’s 21st Century Visionary Award

Date: Wed, March 25, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Maybe the most influential 18-year-old in America.

Tavi Gevinson, Editor-in-Chief, Rookie Magazine; Editor, Rookie Yearbook Three; Broadway Actress, “This Is Our Youth”

It’s quite possible that Tavi Gevinson is the most influential 18-year-old in America. Despite the fact that she just graduated from high school, her résumé includes blogging phenom, magazine editor, writer, movie actress and Broadway star. At age 11, she started Style Rookie, a blog that garnered the attention of fashionistas the world over and has since spawned a corresponding online culture magazine, Rookie, three annual yearbooks and a nationwide tour. Frequently dubbed a wunderkind, Tavi is both a hero to teen girls everywhere and a leading creative voice in the digital era, covering topics – from astrophysics and Carl Sagan to how to wear a leotard “without giving a damn” – through a smart, modern, feminist lens. Join us as we honor Tavi Gevinson and her singular voice with INFORUM’s 21st Century Visionary Award.

Thu 3/26

Image - Russian Hill Walking Tour

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

Join a more active Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Russian Hill is a magical area with secret gardens and amazing views. Join Rick Evans for a two-hour hike up hills and staircases and learn about the history of this neighborhood. See where great artists and architects lived and worked, and walk down residential streets where some of the most historically significant houses in the Bay Area are located.

Image - Deep Decarbonization of the United States

Deep Decarbonization of the United States

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With scientist Jim Williams

Jim Williams, Chief Scientist, Energy and Environmental Economics (E3)

Is it possible to greatly reduce the carbon emissions of the United States and still maintain a vigorous economy? Concern about climate change impacts on the environment and economy is leading to innovation as scientists seek new ways to reduce carbon emissions. Dr. Williams and his team at E3, along with researchers at Berkeley Lab and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, have completed an assessment of the technical and economic feasibility of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Their work is based on a detailed sector-by-sector, region-by-region, year-by-year analysis of the infrastructure changes, technology requirements and costs of a low-carbon transition.

The work was sponsored by the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), an international collaboration with research teams from the 15 largest GHG emitting nations, who are developing long-term scenarios for decarbonization in their own countries. The DDPP aims to advance the climate dialogue by providing decision makers with a more concrete understanding of what limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius would mean for their countries, states and businesses.

Image - Gretchen Rubin: Happiness and Habits

Gretchen Rubin: Happiness and Habits

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
With author Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin, Author, The Happiness Project and Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives; Twitter: @gretchenrubin
Angie Coiro, Talk Show Host, KGO Radio - Moderator

Humans are creatures of pattern – we repeat our standard behaviors over and over again every day. Rubin, a bestselling author, columnist and blogger, believes that when we change our habits, whether good or bad, we change our lives. But how do we effect this change? Through research and experimentation, Rubin offers a framework of different strategies to fit our individual personalities. Whether you are an “upholder,” “questioner,” “obliger” or “rebel,” come experience how every individual can lead a happier and more productive life.

Tue 3/31

Go to Regional Transit Governance Seminar

Regional Transit Governance Seminar

Date: Tue, March 31, 2015
Time: 8:30 AM
With transportation experts and public officials.

Join us for a half-day seminar with transportation experts and public officials discussing regional transit governance challenges and best practices that shape development and growth in several vibrant urban landscapes. This event will be held in conjunction with the release of the Eno Center for Transportation’s most recent paper.

Getting to the Route of It: The Role of Governance in Regional Transit
Joshua Schank, President and CEO, Eno Center for Transportation

Overcoming Transit Fragmentation
Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director, SPUR

Transit Villages: The Missing Key to Transit Success
Rod Diridon, Emeritus Executive Director, Mineta Transportation Institute

Transit Systems: Promoting Integration
Nuria Fernandez, CEO, Valley Transportation Authority (invited)

Image - John Hargrove:  Beyond Blackfish

John Hargrove: Beyond Blackfish

Date: Tue, March 31, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Provocative views on the relationship between orcas and humans.

John Hargrove, Former Killer Whale Trainer; Star, Blackfish; Author, Beneath The Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld and The Truth Beyond Blackfish

John Hargrove’s career as one of the most experienced orca trainers in the world spanned the course of two decades. He worked with 20 different whales, on two different continents, and at two of SeaWorld’s U.S. facilities, where he was promoted to the highest level of trainer and given elite access to the parks’ most dangerous whales.

After two of his fellow trainers were killed by orcas in marine parks, Hargrove says he came to the realization that marine parks are not only dangerous for trainers, but also physically and psychologically detrimental to the whales themselves on an irreversible level. After he left SeaWorld, Hargrove became the star of the documentary Blackfish, airing widely on CNN, which tells the story of one particular killer whale that killed several people in captivity.

Hear his provocative views on the relationship between orcas and humans, and bring your questions.

 

Wed 4/1

Image - Barney Frank

Barney Frank

Date: Wed, April 01, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Barney Frank, Former Member of Congress (D-MA); Author, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage; Twitter @BarneyFrank

How did a disheveled, intellectually combative gay Jew with a thick New Jersey–Massachusetts accent become one of the most effective politicians of his time? In Frank, a candid and witty political memoir, Barney Frank relates his journey from the outskirts of New York City to Boston’s city hall to the U.S. Congress, where he played a vital role in the struggle for personal freedom and economic fairness for more than four decades. With his trademark directness and insight, Frank explores the emotional toll of living in the closet and how he became the first member of Congress to voluntarily disclose his homosexuality. He chronicles his lifelong struggle against inequality, which culminated in co-writing the most significant Wall Street regulations since the Great Depression. Join the discussion with this quirky and robust political figure.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 4/1/15

Date: Wed, April 01, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
It's no April Fool's joke! Political talk can be smart and fun and civil.

Panelists TBA

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).