Upcoming Events

Wed 10/15

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, October 15, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A 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 10/16

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Thu, October 16, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Rediscover San Fancisco's historic waterfront.

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 - Leon Panetta

Leon Panetta

Date: Thu, October 16, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Former Director, CIA; Former U.S. Secretary of Defense

Leon Panetta, Former Director, CIA; Former U.S. Secretary of Defense; Author, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace

Dr. Gloria C. Duffy, President & CEO of The Commonwealth Club – Moderator

Leon Panetta has had two distinct and consequential careers as an American public servant. His first lasted 35 years and culminated in his role as President Clinton’s budget director and White House chief of staff. He stepped back from his public life to establish the Panetta Institute with his wife, Sylvia. In 2009 he again stepped into the role of CIA director, eventually leading the campaign to kill Osama Bin Laden. Following that victory, Panetta became the U.S. secretary of defense, inheriting two troubled wars in a time of austerity and painful choices.

In his new book, Worthy Fights, Panetta is frank about the current state of affairs. Suffused with its author’s stubborn common sense, the book is an epic American success story, a great political memoir, and a revelatory view onto many of the great figures and events of our time.

Fri 10/17

Go to Middle East Hotspots: Geopolitics and Stability

Middle East Hotspots: Geopolitics and Stability

Date: Fri, October 17, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Benafsheh Keynoush, Ph.D., Middle East Scholar; Lecturer; Media Consultant

Noted Middle East scholar, media analyst, and translator for four Iranian presidents including Hassan Rouhani, Benafsheh Keynoush will present an overview of the troubled Middle East. He will focus on the role of specific states, such as Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, against the background of overarching U.S. interests in the region.

Image - Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno

Date: Fri, October 17, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Actress, singer, author and Hollywood survivor

Rita Moreno, Actress; Singer; Author, Rita Moreno: A Memoir
In conversation with Jan Yanehiro, Director, School of Multimedia Communications, Academy of Art University

An extraordinarily talented star of stage and screen, Moreno is a force of nature. The Puerto Rican-born entertainer is one of the few artists to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony as well as the National Medal of Honor.

Now, Moreno shares her story. From her Oscar-winning turn as Anita in West Side Story to her challenging role as a prostitute in Carnal Knowledge; from her stint on the children’s television classic “Electric Company” to her late-career triumph in HBO’s controversial series “Oz,” she will share tales of being a Hollywood survivor.
Learn about her tumultuous childhood, her career rise from “utility ethnic” to award-winning star, her explosive romance with Marlon Brando (and less-than-explosive romance with Elvis Presley), the ups and downs of her relationships and career, and finally finding peace with her choices and her life.

Sun 10/19

Image - Mark Bittman

Mark Bittman: How to Cook Everything Fast

Date: Sun, October 19, 2014
Time: 3:00 PM
Author and Food Columnist 

Mark Bittman, Author, How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food; Food Columnist, The New York Times; Twitter: @bittman

For Bittman, the secret to cooking fast is cooking smart. With the belief that time management is essential to cooking efficiently, Bittman offers tips for quick homemade meals. His newest collection of dishes incorporates clever and unorthodox techniques, and his flexible, commonsense advice provides cooks with plenty of choices and variation.

Bittman is passionate about food and eating healthy, and his regular columns on food policy and cooking appear weekly in The New York Times. Bittman is also the author of more than a dozen cookbooks with one million copies in print.

Mon 10/20

Image - Matt Bai: When Politics Went Tabloid

Matt Bai: When Politics Went Tabloid

Date: Mon, October 20, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Author explores the history of the 24-hour news cycle.

Matt Bai, National Political Columnist, Yahoo News; Author, All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid; Twitter @mattbai

At a certain point in this country’s media history, the 24-hour news cycle was born – Bai asserts that it was with the Gary Hart scandal in 1987. As a presidential hopeful, Hart was caught in a few compromising photographs with a gorgeous and young model. The end of his presidential aspirations was the beginning of the tabloidization of news, says Bai. He’ll discuss the media’s current fixation on personal character over public legislation when it comes to politicians. A key point in Bai’s discussion will be Hart’s true political legacy, rather than the salacious fall from grace for which he’s remembered.

Go to Cult or Benign Cure-all? Life in Transcendental Meditation’s Hidden Society

Cult or Benign Cure-all? Life in Transcendental Meditation’s Hidden Society

Date: Mon, October 20, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM
A member will describe her life in the secret society.

Gina Catena, MS, CNM, NP; Contributor and Speaker, the International Cultic Studies Association

Catena will describe her life in the secret society that hides behind Transcendental Meditation. Drawing from 50 years and three generations of family influenced by TM’s founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Catena says that TM’s well-funded marketing programs hide an underbelly with mystical teachings, advanced celibate programs, a world government with golden-crowned Rajas and legal controversies. The meditation program made famous by the Beatles guru now makes inroads into public schools and the Veterans Administration through the David Lynch Foundation. Listeners can draw their own conclusions.

Image - Science & Technology Organizational Meeting

Science & Technology Organizational Meeting

Date: Mon, October 20, 2014
Time: 6:15 PM
Opening for the new chair to lead the Forum in 2015.

The Club’s Science & Technology Member-Led Forum has an opening for the new chair to lead our Forum in 2015 and beyond. Both long-time and new Club members are welcome! If you are interested in being considered, please bring (1) your resume and (2) a one-page essay on why you would like to serve as the chair of the Science & Technology Member-Led Forum. Also, please attend as many Member-Led Forum events as possible prior to attending this organizational meeting.

Tue 10/21

Go to Francis Fukuyama: Political Order and Decay

Francis Fukuyama: Political Order and Decay

Date: Tue, October 21, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others.

Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow, Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Author, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy

Fukuyama discusses the essential question of how societies develop strong, impersonal and accountable political institutions. Fukuyama follows the story from the French Revolution to the so-called Arab Spring and the deep dysfunctions of contemporary American politics. He examines the effects of corruption on governance, and why some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He  also explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. He boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West.

Image - Latino/a Culture, Heritage and Conservation for the Environment

Latino/a Culture, Heritage and Conservation for the Environment

Date: Tue, October 21, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Explore this community's history of conservation.

Adrianna Quintero, Senior Attorney; Director, Latino Outreach, Natural Resources Defense Council
Gary Segura, Professor of American Politics and Chair of Chicano/a Studies, Stanford University
Anita Martinez, Retired College Educator; Environmentalist; Community Health and Safety Activist

Most people don't automatically label Latinos and Latinas as environmentalists. A deeper look at family, home and community values reveals a long-standing generational commitment to conservation and the wise use of everyday resources in daily life. California's changing demographics all point to a tremendous potential for local, national and worldwide political environmental progress as we listen and learn about the conservation practices of our Latino and Latina families and communities.

Image - Eating for Life: The Longevity Kitchen

Eating for Life: The Longevity Kitchen

Date: Tue, October 21, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Rebecca Katz, Chef; Educator; Author, The Longevity Kitchen and The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen

Wondering how you can eat your way to a longer life? Nationally recognized culinary translator and nutrition expert Rebecca Katz has put together more than 100 recipes that highlight the top superfoods proven to fight the most chronic conditions in her latest cookbook, The Longevity Kitchen. Author of the award-winning cookbook The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, Katz is the founder and director of the Healing Kitchens Institute at Commonweal, which focuses on educating individuals on the healing power of the kitchen and creating healthy connections with food. Join Katz for a discussion on how to increase your longevity through tasty recipes, such as roasted asparagus salad with arugula and hazelnuts or yogurt berry brûlée with almond brittle.

Wed 10/22

Image - Dr. Atul Gawande

Dr. Atul Gawande

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 12:30 PM
Author, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande, Author, The Checklist Manifesto and Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End; Staff Writer, The New Yorker; Professor, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health

Alice Huan-mei Chen, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Integration Officer, Director of the Center for Innovation in Access and Quality, and Director of the eReferral Program, San Francisco General Hospital; Associate Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco — Moderator

Gawande tackles the question of how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Modern medicine, dedicated to prolonging life, inevitably runs counter to the natural condition of aging and death. Nursing homes, hospitals and doctors, in the process of provide the aging and dying with the best care, continue to pin patients to railed beds and carry out devastating procedures that ultimately extend suffering.

A practicing surgeon and MacArthur fellow, Gawande addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Gawande asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

Image - Tech meets Neuroscience: A Vision of the Future of Medicine and Educatio

Tech meets Neuroscience: A Vision of the Future of Medicine and Education

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Adam Gazzaley, M.D.; Ph.D; Founding Director, Neuroscience Imaging Center, Associate Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, UC San Francisco

A fundamental challenge of modern society is the development of effective approaches to enhance brain function in both healthy and impaired individuals, and some people have serious concerns about the ability of either our current education or health-care system to meet this challenge. Gazzaley will share a vision of the future in which video games integrated with technological innovations in software and hardware are used as an engine to harness brain plasticity and enhance our cognitive abilities, thus reducing our reliance on non-specific drugs to treat neurological and psychiatric conditions and allowing us to better target and personalize our educational efforts.

Thu 10/23

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Hidden gems you can only find on foot!

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 - The Return of George Washington

The Return of George Washington

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Edward Larson, Author, The Return of George Washington; Professor of History, Pepperdine University

Did George Washington retire to Mount Vernon after winning the Revolutionary War? Did he stay out of politics until he was drafted to become the first president? Edward Larson argues that, during his so-called "lost period," George Washington remained the indispensable person behind the movement toward a stronger union based on a constitution. Come hear how this founding father quietly worked behind the scenes to lay a secure foundation for our long-lived democracy.

Image - Linda Rottenberg in Conversation with Reid Hoffman: Think Big

Linda Rottenberg in Conversation with Reid Hoffman: Think Big

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
“If people aren’t calling you crazy, you aren’t thinking big enough.”

Linda Rottenberg, CEO and Cofounder, Endeavor; Author, Crazy Is a Compliment
In conversation with Reid Hoffman, Founder, LinkedIn

“If people aren’t calling you crazy, you aren’t thinking big enough.” – Linda Rottenberg

Linda Rottenberg has spent her career helping innovators think big. Nowadays, no matter the industry, the startup mindset is king: take risks, adapt, do it quickly. Having cofounded the leading organization devoted to mentoring fast-growing businesses, Endeavor, Rottenberg has seen this movement take shape and is chronicling the steps to success in her latest book, Crazy Is a Compliment. Endeavor entrepreneurs generated $6 billion in revenue and provided 225,000 jobs in a single year. Join us for a blend of inspiring stories and practical tools for getting started and doing it big.

Rottenberg will be joined in conversation by Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn. Join us to learn how to “derisk” your risk.

Fri 10/24

Image - California’s Contributions to Culinary Publishing

California’s Contributions to Culinary Publishing

Date: Fri, October 24, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
An explosion of culinary publishing and speculation about cookbook publishing's future.

Bill LeBlond, Former Editorial Director of Food and Wine, Chronicle Books
Michael Carabetta, Creative Director, Chronicle Books
Margo True, Food Editor, Sunset Magazine
Jenny Wapner, Senior Cookbook Editor, Ten Speed Press
Joyce Goldstein, Author, California Food Revolution – Moderator

Our expert panel discusses California’s contributions to culinary publishing and distinct impact on cookbook writing and design in the United States. Early in the 20th century, Sunset magazine began publishing articles about California food and continues to focus on ingredients and local flavors of the West. In the 1970s, Ten Speed Press published The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, introducing meatless eating to multiple generations of Americans. Major developments in cookbook design also were pioneered at Chronicle Books, where food editor LeBlond began working with cookbook author James McNair. They launched a series of cookbooks that would redefine categories and become known for photography across multiple subjects, offering a feast for the eyes as well as the table. The panel will review factors influencing an explosion of culinary publishing, evolving cookbook design, and speculation about cookbook publishing's future.

Mon 10/27

Image - Middle East Discussion Group

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, October 27, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East. Each month, the Middle East Member-Led Forum hosts an informal roundtable discussion on a topic frequently suggested by recent headlines. After a brief introduction, the floor will be open for discussion. All interested members are encouraged to attend.

Go to TechWomen: Advancing Women’s Leadership in Africa and the Middle East

TechWomen: Advancing Women’s Leadership in Africa and the Middle East

Date: Mon, October 27, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A panel discussion with leaders in STEM fields.

Speakers TBA

Join us for a panel discussion with four emerging women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields from Africa and the Middle East who are in the Bay Area as participants of TechWomen. TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, launched under the leadership of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2010. TechWomen empowers, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in STEM from Africa and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams and inspire women and girls in their communities. This is achieved through a five-week professional mentorship and exchange program for 78 participants hosted at leading companies in the Bay Area. This panel will share their experiences on the program and their goals and dreams for their returns to their home countries.