Upcoming Events

Tue 2/7

Image - Lauren Leader-Chivee

Crossing the Thinnest Line

Date: Tue, February 07, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The new world of diversity

Lauren Leader-Chivee, Founder and CEO, All In Together; Author, Crossing the Thinnest Line

Explore the social advantages of diversity. Crossing the Thinnest Line argues passionately and persuasively for the possibility, power, purpose and payoff of embracing difference. Already 89 percent of the world’s educated population is either female or minority. In less than a generation, the United States will become minority majority. The world economy is global and interconnected, and Leader-Chivee says that embracing diversity has never been more imperative.

With compelling data and powerful, personal stories, Leader-Chivee looks at challenges and solutions to immigration, education, business, media and politics and inspires Americans to rise to the challenge.

Image - Bret Baier, Fox News Chief Political Anchor
This event is Sold Out

Bret Baier, Fox News Chief Political Anchor

Date: Tue, February 07, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Why you might still like Ike

Bret Baier, Chief Political Anchor, Fox News; Author, Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission; Twitter:
In conversation with Kori Schake, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

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

Since 1998, Bret Baier has been a Fox news stalwart. In addition to being chief political anchor, he anchors "Special Report with Bret Baier," the top-rated cable news program in its time slot and one of the top five shows in cable news. Baier was the first reporter in Fox News’ Atlanta bureau and went on to become chief White House and then national security correspondent.

As the country grapples with the meaning of presidential leadership in 2017, Baier’s new book covers President Dwight Eisenhower’s leadership in guiding America out of war in Korea, through the apocalyptic threat of nuclear war with Russia, and into one of the greatest economic booms. In his last address to the nation, Eisenhower looked to the future, warning Americans against the dangers of elevating partisanship above national interest, excessive government budgets (particularly deficit spending), the expansion of the military-industrial complex, and the creeping political power of special interests.

Baier will discuss how these words resonate today and the lessons Eisenhower’s leadership impart. He’ll also discuss the current state of media and the new administration.

Thu 2/9

Image - North Beach

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Thu, February 09, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM
Walking tour

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. 

Image - woman with children

Our Constitution, Our Climate, Our Kids: Is There a Right not to Be Harmed by Climate Change?

Date: Thu, February 09, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Youth and the courts and climate change

Philip Gregory, Partner, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP
Tia Hatton, Youth Plaintiff in Constitutional and Public Trust Case
Julia Olson, Executive Director, Our Children's Trust

Climate change has an immediate, disproportionate effect on our youth, present and future generations. As with the civil rights movement, young people are turning to courts and regulatory bodies to require governments to implement plans to phase out pollution in line with science. The question is this: Do present and future generations have a constitutional right to be protected from invasive and destructive environmental harm, danger and damage?

Image - Stephen Kinzer

Journalist Stephen Kinzer: History’s Lessons for American Foreign Policy in 2017

Date: Thu, February 09, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
America's imperial temptations yesterday and today

Stephen Kinzer, Columnist, The Boston Globe; Senior Fellow, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University; Author, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire

As President Trump takes office, how should the United States act in the world? Drawing on his latest book, Stephen Kinzer will transport us back to the early 20th century, when the United States first found itself with the chance to dominate faraway lands. That prospect thrilled some Americans. It horrified others. Their debate gripped the nation. The country’s best-known political and intellectual leaders took sides. Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and William Randolph Hearst pushed for imperial expansion; Mark Twain, Booker T. Washington, and Andrew Carnegie preached restraint. Only once before—in the period when the United States was founded—have so many brilliant Americans so eloquently debated a question so fraught with meaning for all humanity. Join Kinzer as he discusses these impassioned arguments and their great relevance to the world of 2017.

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. Kinzer spent more than 20 years working for The New York Times, where his foreign postings placed him at the center of historic events and, at times, in the line of fire. While covering world events, he has been shot at, jailed, beaten by police, tear-gassed and bombed from the air.

Mon 2/13

Image - Yoaz Hendel

Regional Middle East Issues

Date: Mon, February 13, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Hot0button issues in the Middle East

Yoaz Hendel, Ph.D., Military History; Director, Institute of Zionist Strategies
Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Reporting—Moderator

Dr. Hendel, who describes himself as a pragmatic centrist with a national liberal identity, will discuss regional issues confronting the Middle East. He will also explore the influence of the Russian-Iranian relationship in the Middle East. 

Dr. Hendel is the director of the Institute of Zionist Strategies and is an award-winning radio and print commentator on political and human rights issues. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the Began-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and was communication director for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2011-12. His latest book is called, Iran vs Israel: A Shadow War.

 Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour: Fifth Anniversary

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour: Fifth Anniversary Edition 2/13/17

Date: Mon, February 13, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Political discussion plus social hour

Panelists TBA

It's the fifth anniversary of Week to Week, the political roundtable of The Commonwealth Club of California!

It's going to be a big 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). 

Tue 2/14

Image - speakers

A Valentine's Call-to-Action for the Baby Boomer Generation

Date: Tue, February 14, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Boomer investing

John Tarnoff, MA Spiritual Psychology; Former Hollywood Executive; Educator; Trainer; Coach; Author
Marc Freedman, Founder and CEO, Encore.org; Former Visiting Scholar, Stanford University (2014-15); Member, The Wall Street Journal’s “Experts” Panel; Author, The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife

In this era of career uncertainty, low retirement savings and digital disruption, boomers may be feeling discouraged, categorized by ageism, insecure in their own abilities and fearful of the future.

Boomer career coach John Tarnoff's new book, Boomer Reinvention: How to Create Your Dream Career Over 50, is actually a love note to this generation, proposing clear and achievable strategies for how boomers can prevail through these troubled times, and steer their own course toward meaningful, purposeful and prosperous careers past traditional retirement. Tarnoff will be in conversation with Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Encore.org. Freedman’s mission is to celebrate and facilitate the career contributions of aging professionals in these encore careers.

Boomers came of age wanting to make a difference in the world. On this Valentine's Day 2017, now more than ever, Tarnoff and Freedman will be here to reaffirm that, yes, boomers can still make that difference.

Image - Inforum hearts beer

For the Love of Beer

Date: Tue, February 14, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
A Valentine's Day special event

Justin Catalana, Founder and Managing Partner, Fort Point Beer Company 
Regan Long, Co-Founder and Brewmaster, Local Brewing
Dave McLean, Founder/Brewmaster, Magnolia Brewing Company
Scott Ungermann, Brewmaster, Anchor Brewing Company
Kate Sofis, CEO, SFMade—Moderator

Whether you’re single, attached, or “complicated” this Valentine’s Day, beer and INFORUM will always love you back, so spend the evening with us! Join leaders from top San Francisco breweries—including Fort Point Beer Company, Magnolia Brewing Company, Anchor Brewing and Local Brewing—for a conversation about beer and why it’s great to brew in San Francisco, moderated by Kate Sofis of SFMade. Plus, we’re talking the talk and pouring the pour: Participating breweries will have beer flowing after the conversation, and we’ll provide the snacks. Come to learn and sip, sample standards or decide on a new standby, and meet someone new or bring a favorite!

Wed 2/15

Image - Patricia Schultz

Travel Expert Patricia Schultz: Emerging Destinations—Places You Have to See

Date: Wed, February 15, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
The hottest new destinations

Patricia Schultz, Travel Writer; Author, 1000 Places To See Before You Die and 1000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die

Patricia Schultz has a dream job: traveling the globe and writing about it. She is the author of the international #1 bestsellers, 1000 Places To See Before You Die (translated into 25 languages) and her new book,1000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die. With these works, she has reinvented the idea of travel book as both wishlist and practical guide. She was recently chosen by Forbes as one of the 25 most influential women in travel, and was executive producer of the Travel Channel’s TV show based on her first 1000 Places book.

Schultz will focus on emerging destinations, featuring four eye-opening trips that have slowly and recently been securing their places in the global limelight: Iran, Myanmar, Cuba and Antarctica (including the Falkland Islands and South Georgia). Listen to her experience and anecdotes and learn why Americans are joining the still limited number of travelers who return with similar tales of an authentic, safe, fascinating and welcoming adventure.

Image - Robert Rosenbaum

What's Wrong with Mindfulness (and What Isn't)

Date: Wed, February 15, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Zen in America

Robert Rosenbaum, Neurophsychologist; Psychotherapist; Co-editor, What's Wrong with Mindfulness (and What Isn't); Author, Walking the Way: 81 Zen Encounters with the Tao Te Ching and Zen and the Heart of Psychotherapy

In his new book, Rosenbaum and co-editor Barry Magidin bring together various essayists who examine critical concerns and creative engagment of zen experience with mindfulness practice. The marketplace, mindfulness myths, fantasies and facts, solitude and mindfulness in the arts, feminism and Zen liberation, Western Buddhism—all consider the topic. Rosenbaum introduces the topic with the "Zen in America" question of "Universal Mindfulness—Be careful what you wish for?"

Robert Meikyo Rosenbaum is a neuropsychologist and psychotherapist who is a Zen practitioner and senior teacher in the Taoist practice Dayan QiGong. 

Humanities West Book Discussion: The Age of Vikings, by Anders Winroth

Date: Wed, February 15, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Learn more about the Vikings

Join us to discuss The Age of Vikings, whose image is often distorted by myth. Though it is true that they pillaged, looted and enslaved, the Vikings also settled peacefully and traveled far from their homelands in swift and sturdy ships to explore. Anders Winroth captures the innovation and pure daring of the Vikings without glossing over their destructive heritage, revealing how Viking arts, literature and religious thought evolved in surprising ways. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

Image - Colorado River

Killing the Colorado

Date: Wed, February 15, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Saving a great American waterway

Abrahm Lustgarten, Reporter, ProPublica

The story of the American West is deeply rooted in the Colorado River, which delivers fresh water to 30 million people. For years, there has been more Colorado water on paper and in people’s minds than in the river itself. Now climate disruption is making the situation even more troubling. Even though a relatively wet year has eased immediate drought concerns, California and other western states realize the Colorado is at risk. How will warmer and drier weather add further stress to a troubled river, and what can California do to use the Colorado River more wisely?

How is the Colorado River connected to California’s other water concerns? Join us for a conversation about protecting the water many westerners take for granted and restoring one of the country’s great waterways. 

Thu 2/16

Image - Alison Gopnik

Alison Gopnik: The New Science of Child Development

Date: Thu, February 16, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Shattering myths of "good parenting"

Alison Gopnik, Professor of Psychology and Affiliate Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley; Author, The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us about the Relationship Between Parents and Children
In conversation with Dr. Julie Lythcott-Haims, Former Dean of Freshman, Stanford University; Author, How to Raise An Adult

Caring deeply about our children is part of what makes us human. Yet the thing we call “parenting” is a surprisingly new invention. In the past 30 years, “parenting” has transformed into an obsessive, controlling, goal-oriented effort to create a particular kind of child. But children are designed to be messy and unpredictable, playful and imaginative, and to be very different both from their parents and from each other.

Drawing on the study of human evolution and her own cutting-edge research, Gopnik shatters key myths of “good parenting,” and suggests a new approach—where variability and flexibility in childhood lets them innovate, create and survive in an unpredictable world.

Tue 2/21

Image - Akil Palanisamy

The Paleovedic Diet: Early Human Diets and Ayurvedic Medicine

Date: Tue, February 21, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Boosting well-being and vitality

Akil Palanisamy, M.D., Author, The Paleovedic Diet: A Complete Program to Burn Fat, Increase Energy, and Reverse Disease

In this lecture, Dr. Akil Palanisamy will describe the outlines of a comprehensive roadmap to optimal health, one that combines the most effective aspects of the “paleo” diet (so-called because it seeks to emulate the diet of early humans), cutting-edge nutritional science, and the time-tested philosophy and techniques of ancient Ayurvedic medicine. He will share practical tips on what to eat in order to boost well-being and vitality, and he will have detailed and practical information about implementing these concepts in daily living.

Dr. Palanisamy is a Harvard-trained physician who practices integrative medicine, incorporating the best of conventional medicine and alternative therapies. A holistic doctor, he completed his premedical training in biochemistry at Harvard University, received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and completed his residency in family medicine at Stanford University. He also completed a Fellowship in Integrative Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona, and is certified by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine at Georgetown University. Dr. Akil practices at The Institute for Health and Healing in San Francisco, one of the oldest centers for integrative medicine in the United States.

Image - The Honorable George Shultz
This event is Sold Out

The Honorable George Shultz: Lessons from Government, Business and Life

Date: Tue, February 21, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Hear from an elder stateman

George P. Shultz, Distinguished Fellow, Hoover Institution; Former U.S. Secretary of State, Labor, and Treasury; Author, Learning From Experience
In conversation with Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club

Part of the Club’s Series on Ethics and Accountability, underwritten by the Charles Travers Family Foundation.
Also part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by The Bernard Osher Foundation

George Shultz has had a distinguished career in government, academia and the world of business. He is one of two individuals who have held four different federal cabinet posts; he has also taught at three of this country’s great universities. In 1989 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Come hear Secretary Shultz’s seasoned observations on foreign policy, economics and on what makes great presidential leadership, especially as the Trump Administration's policies begin to take shape. 

Wed 2/22

Image - detail of book cover of The Reporter Who Knew too Much

Media Icon Dorothy Kilgallen: The Reporter Who Knew too Much

Date: Wed, February 22, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
How and why did Dorothy Kilgallen die?

Mark Shaw, Former Criminal Defense Attorney; CNN Legal Analyst; Author, The Reporter Who Knew Too Much

Occurring less than two years after JFK's assassination, the mysterious death of Dorothy Kilgallen, a "What's My Line" media star and investigative reporter, remains an enigma. Despite an apparently staged death scene in her apartment, and friends who suspected she had been murdered, no police investigation followed. Relying on fresh evidence secured through discovery of never-before-seen videotaped interviews and secret government documents, Shaw unfolds a murder mystery featuring Frank Sinatra, J. Edgar Hoover and Mafia don Carlos Marcello, whose motives included being threatened by Kilgallen's 18-month investigation into JFK's death. (For more about the book, see http://www.thereporterwhoknewtoomuch.com.)

Image - cup of coffee

The Science of Coffee

Date: Wed, February 22, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
What goes into the cup

William Ristenpart, Joe and Essie Smith Endowed Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of California-Davis

Can UC Davis do for the coffee industry what it’s done for the wine industry?

Ristenpart is head of the Coffee Center, the first multidisciplinary university research center in the world devoted to post-harvest studies of coffee and designed to generate unparalleled teaching, research and collaborative opportunities for students, scientists and engineers.

The project has its roots in the Engineering Department, where Ristenpart co-developed the “Design of Coffee” course that became hugely popular with both science and java junkies and boasts the highest enrollment of any elective course on campus.

Come learn about the core engineering and science principles involved in roasting and brewing the perfect cup of coffee and participate in an informal coffee “cupping” sponsored by Peet’s Coffee.

Thu 2/23

Image - Linda Rugg

The End of the Vikings

Date: Thu, February 23, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The journey from paganism to Christianity to secularism

Linda Rugg, Professor of Swedish Studies, Department of Scandinavian Studies, University of California Berkeley

In the year 1000 AD, at the annual Althing (national assembly) in Iceland, a decision was made to make Christianity the official religion of the island. The road from paganism to Christianity was not, however, completely smooth, nor did the conversion process happen as abruptly as the political decision implied. A key text describing the declaration at the Althing appears in Njal’s Saga, and it will form the basis for this lecture, along with two medieval Icelandic short stories that illustrate how Christianization began to take shape in the North. The continued presence of the pagan past in modern Scandinavia can be traced in literature, artifacts and enduring cultural practices, indicating that while the Scandinavians eventually embraced Christianity and then secularism, they did not leave their Viking identity behind.

Image - statue of justice

SV Reads 2017: Adam Benforado and Shaka Senghor

Date: Thu, February 23, 2017
Time: 7:30 PM
Silicon Valley Reads 2017

Adam Benforado, Associate Professor of Law, Drexel University; Author, Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice
Shaka Senghor, Director of Strategy and Innovation, #Cut50; Author, Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison
Sal Pizzaro, Columnist, San Jose Mercury News—Moderator

How can we reduce bias in our legal system? Benforado and Senghor examine this critical issue from both a legal perspective and from someone who has been incarcerated.

Benforado says, “The failure of our legal system has been a defining issue in the U.S. over the last year…. To make progress in our fight against abuse, unequal treatment and wrongful convictions, we must come together as a community to consider the psychological biases that share the behavior of judges, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, police officers—and all of the rest of us.”

Senghor shares his own personal experiences as someone who has gone through the system and is now one of the leading voices on criminal justice reform.