Upcoming Events

Mon 11/16

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, November 16, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

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 11/17

What Are Our Brains For? Cognitive Enhancement, Artificial Intelligence and Huma

What Are Our Brains For? Cognitive Enhancement, Artificial Intelligence and Human Nature

Date: Tue, November 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With professor John Harris

John Harris D.Phil., Lord Alliance Professor of Bioethics and Director, Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation, and Director, Wellcome Strategic Programme in the Human Body, its Scope, Limits and Future, University of Manchester

Astronomer Martin Rees has observed that there might be scientific facts that will never be discovered by beings with brains that have evolved in the way that human brains have so far developed, and scientific theories we are incapable of postulating. Related ethical limits might arise from our organic embodied nature and from the essential differences between human and artificial intelligence. More significant still, as Steven Hawking and Elon Musk have suggested, AI could pose problems that our brains are not adapted to anticipate. Join us as Harris examines the ethical and conceptual limits to human beings and human nature.

Wed 11/18

Image - Stephen F. Cohen: The Ukrainian Crisis - It's Not All Putin's Fault

Stephen F. Cohen: The Ukrainian Crisis - It's Not All Putin's Fault

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

Why Cold War Again?

Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus, Russian Studies and Politics, New York University and Princeton University; Contributing Editor, The Nation
In conversation with Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club

The consensus view in Washington and in the U.S. mainstream media is that the Ukrainian crisis, which some have called the worst international crisis of our time, is due solely to Russian aggression under President Vladimir Putin. Stephen F. Cohen’s view, on the other hand, is that U.S. policy since the 1990s is largely responsible, and that unless this is acknowledged at least in part by Washington, no successful negotiated end to the crisis will be possible.

Professor Cohen’s Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War and his The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin are now in paperback. Come hear the provocative views of this influential and noted Russian scholar.

Image - Happening: The Story of a Clean Energy Revolution that is Patriotic, Democratic and Well Underway

Happening: The Story of a Clean Energy Revolution that is Patriotic, Democratic and Well Underway

Date: Wed, November 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Discover new solutions to climate change

James Redford, Director, Happening; Board Member, The Redford Center
Jill Tidman, Producer, Happening; Executive Director, The Redford Center
Emily Kirsch, Executive Director, SFuncube.com
Adam Browning, Executive Director, Vote Solar

The new documentary Happening takes us to towns, cities and people across the United States where new technologies are transforming our homes, schools, towns and cities into healthy and safe environments now and for the future.

The panel will discuss the dawn of American's clean energy economy as it creates jobs, turns profits, saves money, cuts costs and makes communities stronger and healthier. They will document a shift from old energy sources and deteriorating industrialized sites into newer, clean and profitable energy resources and technologies.

Join us as we discover new solutions to the damaging effects of climate change, fossil fuels, water shortages and drought, and discuss the new directions of the 21st century.

Thu 11/19

Image - An Evening with Chef Tyler Florence

An Evening with Chef Tyler Florence

Date: Thu, November 19, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Our mouths are watering just thinking about it.

Tyler Florence, Host, “Tyler’s Ultimate;” Bay Area Restaurant Owner; Author, Inside the Test Kitchen

Chef Tyler Florence is obsessed with comfort foods, from rich, creamy risottos to “Fronion Rings” (that’s right—French fry encrusted onion rings). Florence is an Emmy-nominated chef, Food Network star, and chef-owner of Wayfare Tavern and El Paseo. He manages eight companies, including restaurants, retail shops, media production and even tech startups. In his app, Tyler Florence Fast, you can ask on-the-spot recipe advice from Tyler and his team or pick up one of his 500 signature recipes, such as baked lobster with garlic butter panko.

Whether you’re a professional chef, aspiring chef, amateur cook or foodie, this is your chance to learn what it takes to nail classic dishes and reimagine comfort food. Join INFORUM in welcoming the renowned chef and television host as he discusses his new book Inside the Test Kitchen and his updated take on 120 classic recipes. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it.

Mon 11/23

Andrea Ponsi: San Francisco Through the Eyes of An Italian Architect

Date: Mon, November 23, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Often described as the most European of American cities

Andrea Ponsi, Architect; Author, San Francisco: A Map Of Perceptions

Florence native Andrea Ponsi shares his unique vision of San Francisco, the city often described as the most European of American cities. An award-winning architect, designer and artist who has lived and worked in San Francisco for 10 years, Ponsi takes us on a personal exploration of San Francisco that is at once visual, literary, poetic and historical, with illustrations informed by the architect's Renaissance sensibility and passion for urban design.

Join us for a program with the man San Francisco Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker called “an impassioned but critical admirer, aware of what he sees on more levels than most.”

Tue 11/24

Image - Eight Elements to Transform Your Personal Brand, Career and Life

Eight Elements to Transform Your Personal Brand, Career and Life

Date: Tue, November 24, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Ellen Looyen, Author, Branded for Life!; Branding Commentator, CBS News, The Wall Street Journal and KGO Radio

You already have a personal brand whether or not you think you do. How you dress, the way you style your hair, the look of your resume and how you conduct yourself all make an impact to potential employers, clients or anyone they may know. That is why personal branding is pivotal for anyone looking to move ahead in their career, climb the corporate ladder or attract new clients. Ellen Looyen will guide you on how to make the most positive impact in the professional world. Called “America’s leader in personal branding” by the NYC Conference Board, Looyen wants to help you redefine your personal brand, enhance your visibility and put you in a whole new league.

Mon 11/30

Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club

Date: Mon, November 30, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
A one-hour planning meeting.

All interested Club members are welcome to attend our bimonthly, one-hour planning meetings of the International Relations Member-Led Forum. We focus on Europe, Latin America, Africa and worldwide topics. Join us to discuss current international issues and plan programs for early 2016.

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, November 30, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan. 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. There will also be a brief planning session.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 11/30/15

Date: Mon, November 30, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Lively, intelligent, and fun political discussion

Panelists TBA

The year's almost over; one big election is behind us, but 2016 is racing toward us at top speed.

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).

Tue 12/1

Pope Francis: Climate Change and the Poor

Date: Tue, December 01, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
The moral dimensions of climate change

Kenneth Weare, Ph.D, Adjunct Professor of Social Ethics, University of San Francisco; Board Member, San Francisco Archdiocesan Board of Education; Former Director, School of Pastoral Leadership, Archdiocese of San Francisco; Board Member, Catholic Charities CYO Board of Directors; Pastor, St. Rita Catholic Church

Weare will discuss Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, which offers a moral argument on climate change that also includes a profound concern for the poor as a teaching on both global warming and global poverty. He describes Pope Francis’ focus on the moral dimensions of climate change in addition to the contributions from scientific researchers and environmental experts worldwide over the years.

Weare’s lecture will highlight the key elements of his moral analysis and evaluation, including creation theology, integral ecology and the socio-political and economic realities constituent to the challenge of climate change.

Wed 12/2

What You Need to Know Before You're 65: A Medicare Primer

Date: Wed, December 02, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
Wirth gerontologist Esther Koch

Esther Koch, MBA, Gerontologist; Founder, Encore Management; Aging Network Partner, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

If you are approaching the Medicare qualifying age of 65 and Medicare seems like one big alphabetical maze to you, you are not alone. Come hear what every boomer needs to know before they turn 65 to successfully navigate Medicare. Learn the ABCD’s of Medicare, the realities of what you can expect (and what not to expect) and what options might be best for you.

Thu 12/3

Image - Chef Joanne Weir in Conversation with Chef Gary Danko

Chef Joanne Weir in Conversation with Chef Gary Danko

Date: Thu, December 03, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Joanne Weir, Chef and Owner, Copita Tequileria y Comida; Host, "Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence"; James Beard Award Winner for Best Cookbook, 2005; Author, Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food
In conversation with Gary Danko, Chef and Principal, Restaurant Gary Danko; James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef-California, 1995 and Best New Restaurant, 2000

Food Lit event underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Chef, cooking instructor, and television host Joanne Weir has inspired legions of home cooks across the globe with her California-Mediterranean cuisine. In Kitchen Gypsy, the James Beard Award-winning author offers the recipes and lessons that have shaped her culinary career, including the 140-year-old lighting cake recipe handed down from her great-grandmother. The author of more than 20 cookbooks and the host of two popular PBS series, Chef Weir is the recipient of numerous awards, including the very first IACP Julia Child Cooking Teacher Award of Excellence and the 2005 James Beard Best Cookbook award for Weir Cooking in the City.

Join these two powerhouse chefs as Weir takes a trip down culinary memory lane, sharing stories from her days cooking with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, traveling and teaching throughout Europe and becoming the California chef she is today.

Mon 12/14

Image - Women’s Identity and Rethinking the Hadith

Women’s Identity and Rethinking the Hadith

Date: Mon, December 14, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Uncovering unjust practices

Nimat Hafez Barazangi, Professor and Research Fellow, Cornell University

Professor Barazangi will discuss her work in Muslim and Arab women's education, identity development and belief studies as well as feminist and gender issues. She will sign her newest book, Muslim Extremism and the Marginalization and Violence Against Women. She describes this book as a first step in a comprehensive attempt to contrast Hadith with the Qur'an to uncover unjust practices concerning women and gender issues.

Tue 12/15

Image - Dr. Chris Field: The Stephen Schneider Award

Dr. Chris Field: The Stephen Schneider Award

Date: Tue, December 15, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Chris Field, Director, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science

The award is underwritten by Tom R. Burns, Nora Machado, and Michael Haas.

Climate One at The Commonwealth Club will award Dr. Chris Field the fifth annual Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication. Dr. Field is director of the Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University’s Carnegie Institution for Science. The $15,000 award is given to a natural or social scientist who has made extraordinary scientific contributions and communicated that knowledge to a broad public in a clear and compelling fashion. The award was established in honor of Stephen Henry Schneider, one of the founding fathers of climatology, who died in 2010.

Mon 12/21

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, December 21, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.
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.

Mon 1/11

Image - Values That Guide Healthcare Decisions

Values That Guide Healthcare Decisions

Date: Mon, January 11, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
A critical component of end-of-life choices

Mileva Saulo Lewis, Ed.D., RN, Associate Professor, Samuel Merritt University; Vice President, The Center for Medical Ethics and Mediation

The values that guide our medical treatment decisions become increasingly important when we face the sudden onset of a stroke or heart attack and become even more critical when we cannot speak for ourselves after serious trauma from a car accident or fall. Dr. Lewis' presentation draws on a values history approach developed at The Center for Medical Ethics and Mediation in San Diego, which examines the decision-making process and quality-of-life factors. It provides a way to shape and share health-care decisions with family and health-care providers, and to review or revise them as your health changes. It is a critical component of end-of-life choices.