Upcoming Events: All

Thu 5/11

Image - Environmental Movement

The Importance of Diversity in the Environmental Movement for the 21st Century

Date: Thu, May 11, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Considering environmental policies for all people

Adrianna Quintero, Natural Resources Defense Council
Additional Panelists TBA

The importance of local, national and international people of diversity throughout the world and the environmental movement is critical to maintaining and building safe and healthy environments for our planet. How will the tone set by the current administration impact efforts to build greater involvement and representation of women, people of color and others? How can we build on and impact the diversity in our country to mobilize issues that affect us all? Highly distinguished Natural Resources Defense Council experts will discuss these critical issues and explore strategies to protect and improve health and well-being for people now and for generations to come.

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Banking on Change at Standing Rock

Date: Thu, May 11, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline

L. Frank Manriquez, Indigenous California Artist, Activist
Pennie Opal Plant, Organizer, Idle No More SF Bay
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One
Additional Speakers TBA

They were an unlikely group of activists; Native American youths concerned about teen suicide sparked the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)—a movement which ultimately spread across the country. Veterans and others joined in, traveling to the construction site and showing solidarity with activists. Protesters objected to the $3.8 billion pipeline route, which they said threatened freshwater supplies and disrespected ancestral lands. Recently, in an attempt to pressure banks financing the project, Seattle yanked more than $3 billion in annual cash flows from Wells Fargo, giving the campaign a boost. The city of Davis also cut ties with the bank over the pipeline.

Still, the project is moving ahead and is nearly complete. What, then, did the protests accomplish? Are they any more than a temporary nuisance to energy companies? Join us for a conversation with those who have been at Standing Rock—and discover what it all means.

Fri 5/12

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Sustaining Capitalism: Bipartisan Solutions to Restore Trust and Prosperity

Date: Fri, May 12, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Creating a sustainable future

Joseph Minarik, Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Committee for Economic Development; Former Chief Economist, Office of Management and Budget for the Clinton Administration
Lenny Mendonca, Director Emeritus, McKinsey and Company
Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and CEO, Grand Reserve Inn; Former Chairman and CEO, Frontier Communications; Former Senior Vice President, Global Business Strategy for Microsoft—Moderator

The Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board (CED) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization that delivers analysis and solutions to our nation’s most critical issues.

In the 75 years since its inception in 1942, CED has addressed national priorities that promote sustained economic growth and development aimed at benefitting all Americans. These activities have encompassed the Marshall Plan in the late 1940s, education reform in the past three decades and campaign finance reform since 2000. CED's research findings are coupled with multipronged outreach efforts throughout the country and abroad, achieving tangible impact at the local, state and national levels. With a new administration and Congress in office, and an ever-changing world anxious about its future, join a high-level conversation on how to ensure business and policy leaders can generate prosperity for all and make capitalism sustainable for generations to come.

Mon 5/15

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Week to Week Politics Roundtable and Social Hour 5/15/17

Date: Mon, May 15, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Insight into political issues, delivered with expertise and wit

Panelists TBA

It's never a dull moment in politics these days, and we'll discuss 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).

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Socrates Café

Date: Mon, May 15, 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 5/16

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Rugged Individualism

Date: Tue, May 16, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Why rugged individualism still exists

David Davenport, Hoover Institution Research Fellow, Former President of Pepperdine University, Co-author of Rugged Individualism

In Rugged Individualism, Davenport and Lloyd analyze the history of American individualism, from its earliest roots in the Christianity of the Colonial period to the present day. In spite of the closing of the western frontier; the shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy; the rise of Progressivism, the New Deal, the Great Society and the Reagan Revolution; federal education reform; and growing income inequality, rugged individualism has continued to survive as an American cultural icon. Davenport argues, though, that our ever more stifling federal government and overwhelming national debt may leave no room for rugged individualism to survive.

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This event is Sold Out

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, Surgeon General: America's Doctor

Date: Tue, May 16, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The surgeon general on health care and community

Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., MBA, United States Surgeon General; Co-Founder, VISIONS; Co-Founder, Doctors for America

“America’s Doctor,” Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., MBA, was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2013 as the 19th United States surgeon general, and he continues to serve under the current administration. Dr. Murthy is the first surgeon general of Indian descent and is the youngest surgeon general of modern times.  

As surgeon general, Dr. Murthy is responsible for communicating the best available scientific information to the public regarding ways to improve personal and public health. Dr. Murthy is focused on tackling our country’s most urgent public health issues. During his tenure, he has created initiatives to end our country’s opioid crisis, reduce tobacco-related diseases and create a culture of prevention in America grounded in physical activity, nutrition and emotional well-being. In 2017, Dr. Murthy will continue his efforts to build a culture of prevention, tackling one of the root causes of illness—chronic stress—while promoting efforts to improve emotional well-being.

Dr. Murthy’s commitment to medicine and health began early in life. The son of immigrants from India, he discovered the art of healing in his father’s medical clinic in Miami, Florida. A believer in the power of community, he co-founded VISIONS, a peer-to-peer HIV/AIDS education program in India, and the Swasthya project (“health and well-being” in Sanskrit), a community health partnership that trained women to defy the odds in their patriarchal villages and become health-care providers and educators. As a health-care entrepreneur, Dr. Murthy co-founded a technology company to improve research collaboration in clinical trials that is powering research studies around the world. He also co-founded Doctors for America, a nonprofit with more than 16,000 physician and medical student members from all 50 states dedicated to creating a high quality, affordable health-care system for all. 

Join INFORUM for a conversation with Dr. Murthy on the urgent need to cultivate emotional well-being as a pillar of personal and public health—and how emotional well-being might be the best prescription not only for ourselves and our communities, but also for the future of our country.

Wed 5/17

Image - Age in Place

How to "Age in Place" Safely—Navigating the Confusing World of Home Care

Date: Wed, May 17, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
The best way to "age in place"

Catherine Reid, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) 
Nancy Meyer, Realtor, Senior Real Estate Specialist
Denise Michaud, Independent Insurance Agent

This multidisciplinary panel will cover how to “age in place” safely. First, they will describe the difference between a private and agency caregiver. They will then explain the role of a professional caregiver and the expected costs of private care. As decisions about remaining in the home, selling or downsizing are covered, audience members will learn how to answer the question: Should I stay or should I go? The program is rounded out by a long-term care insurance expert who will help members create a strategy for paying for long-term care, learn how much long-term care insurance to buy and determine who will be their advocate.

Image – Detail of Penguin edition of Antony and Cleopatra

Humanities West Book Discussion: Antony and Cleopatra, by William Shakespeare

Date: Wed, May 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Book discussion group

Join us to discuss "Antony and Cleopatra," the famous Elizabethan play by the legendary English playwright about the infamous Roman general who would be Caesar, and the even more famous, legendary and infamous last pharaoh of ancient Egypt—even if she was really Greek. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

 

Thu 5/18

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Autoimmune Fix

Date: Thu, May 18, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Discovering underlying causes of autoimmune disease

Dr. Tom O'Bryan, Author, The Autoimmune Fix; Faculty Member, Institute for Functional Medicine

Autoimmune diseases are a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in the industrialized world. The number of people diagnosed with an autoimmune disease is increasing exponentially in our country. Without recognizing and addressing the underlying mechanisms triggering the presenting complaints, the practitioner may be proverbially "chasing the tail" of the pathology with temporary symptom relief. This presentation will outline the development of autoimmune disease and its musculoskeletal and neurological presentations, with a deep emphasis on testing and treatment protocols that have consistently demonstrated dramatic results.

O'Bryan is internationally recognized speaker and writer on chronic diseases and metabolic disorders. He is considered the world expert on the impact of wheat sensitivity on autoimmunity. In 2013, he organized "the gluten summit," the first Internet gathering of more than 25 experts in a particular health field. More information can be found at www.TheDr.com.

Image - North Beach

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Thu, May 18, 2017
Time: 1:45 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 hangouts, you’ll discover authentic Italian cathedrals and coffee shops.

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Sleep Apnea: Creating Seamless Accountability for the Patient

Date: Thu, May 18, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Ways to treat sleep apnea

Robert Koenigsberg, CEO, SleepQuest, Inc.
William C. Dement, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Advisor, SleepQuest, Inc. 

The program will feature a presentation on how to diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Robert Koenigsberg, founder and CEO of SleepQuest, and William Dement, the world's leading authority on sleep, will give a number tips on how to get a good night's sleep and why this is important for overall health.

Dement is the world's leading authority on sleep, sleep deprivation and the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.

Fri 5/19

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Resolving Afghanistan: Crafting a Sensible U.S. Approach

Date: Fri, May 19, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
The ongoing struggle in Afghanistan

Anthony Alfidi, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve; Private Investor

Intelligence officer Anthony Alfidi has performed military duty in South Korea, Kuwait, Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan. He will give his personal view of why U.S. policy has not achieved peace in Afghanistan and how the new administration should pursue reforms.

Image - Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers: Screening and Discussion of Rikers: An American Jail

Date: Fri, May 19, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Life inside an American jail

Bill Moyers, Executive Editor, Rikers: An American Jail
Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell (Ret.), Chair, Santa Clara County Jail Commission
Lenore Anderson, Founder and Executive Director, Californians for Safety and Justice
John Boland, President, KQED; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors—Moderator

A broadcast journalist for more than four decades, Bill Moyers had been recognized as one of the unique voices of our times, with more than 30 Emmys and many other distinguished awards. Yet Moyers says Rikers: An American Jail is the most important film that he has ever worked on. Mass incarceration in America, with over 2.2 million people packed into its jails and prisons, is the human rights crisis of our time. To understand the human toll of imprisonment, Moyers believes Rikers Island is a good place to start. One leader in criminal justice reform said, “Rikers is every jail, and every jail is Rikers.” 

Rikers: An American Jail brings us face to face with men and women who have endured incarceration at Rikers Island. Their stories, told direct to camera, vividly describe the cruel arc of the Rikers experience—from the shock of entry to the extortion and control exercised by other inmates, the oppressive interaction with corrections officers, the beatings and stabbings, the torture of solitary confinement, and the many challenges of returning to the outside world. Moyers joins John Boland, Lenore Anderson and LaDoris Cordell to reflect on what factors have brought America to this human rights crisis, discussing the political climate for criminal justice reform and the importance of confronting what is being done in our name, with our tax dollars, purportedly for our safety. Join us for this important program that transcends Rikers and brings up issues that impact all Americans.

Mon 5/22

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Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, May 22, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group—which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan—has been meeting monthly for nine years. We are not a debate group. Each month we discuss timely, cultural subjects in a civil atmosphere with respect for others and their opinions.

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Women and Islam

Date: Mon, May 22, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Understanding women and Islam

Sumbul Ali-Karamali, Author, The Muslim Next Door
Maha Elgenaidi, Executive Director, Islamic Networks Group
Joe Simitian, Supervisor, Santa Clara County—Moderator
Additional Panelists TBA

What does it mean to be a Muslim woman? Join us for this special community forum to learn how Islam intersects with gender in today’s world.

Co-presented by the office of Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian

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SFDebate

Date: Mon, May 22, 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.

Click here to sign up for this program via Meetup. 

Tue 5/23

Image - Brown
This event is Sold Out

Willie Brown: Annual Commonwealth Club Lecture

Date: Tue, May 23, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Annual lecture by Mayor Brown

Willie Brown, Former Mayor, San Francisco; Former Speaker, California State Assembly

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown will give his annual lecture on national and regional political trends. A two-term mayor of San Francisco and legendary speaker of the California State Assembly, Brown is widely regarded as one of the most influential African-American politicians of the late 20th century. He has been at the center of California politics, government and civic life for an astonishing four decades.

Wed 5/24

Image - Tom Nichols

Tom Nichols: Are Facts Dead?

Date: Wed, May 24, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Favoring quick facts over expertise

Tom Nichols, Professor of National Security Affairs, the U.S. Naval War College; Author, The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters; Twitter
In Conversation with Melissa Caen, Political Analyst, CBS Television San Francisco; Twitter 

Fake News. Fake Facts. All knowing proclamations on social media. Are we at a point in history where expertise is meaningless? Prompted by this very concern, Tom Nichols wrote The Death of Expertise. Nichols says people are now exposed to more information than ever before. He says that these societal gains, however, have also helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates on any number of issues. Today, everyone knows everything: With only a quick trip through WebMD or Wikipedia, average citizens believe themselves to be on an equal intellectual footing with doctors and diplomats. All voices, even the most ridiculous, demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as elitism. Nichols is even more concerned that the current rejection of expertise and learning will threaten the survival of our democracy. What has caused this, and what can be done about it? Join us for a thought-provoking discussion.

Image - Mugambi Jouet

American Exceptionalism and the Rise of Trumpism

Date: Wed, May 24, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Understanding American exceptionalism

Mugambi Jouet, Thomas C. Grey Fellow and Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law School; Author, Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other

How did Donald Trump become president in an increasingly polarized America? Mugambi Jouet traces these intriguing social changes to American exceptionalism—an idea widely misunderstood as American superiority. While exceptionalism was once a source of strength, it may now spell decline, as unique features of U.S. history, politics, law, culture, religion and race relations foster grave social conflicts.