Upcoming Events: All

Tue 10/11

Image - California wildfire
This event is Canceled

Paradise Burning

Date: Tue, October 11, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
What is driving our state's "hellfires"?

J. Keith Gilless, Dean of the College of Natural Resources; Chair, California State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection

California wildfires used to be a seasonal challenge in rather remote parts of the state. Now they are burning nearly year-round and spreading from the urban-rural interface to more of the state’s urban and coastal population. What is driving California’s "hellfires"? How are they hitting the state treasury, environment and public health?

A conversation about the California dream lived in a hot and smoky world.

Wed 10/12

Image - Grgich

Grgich Hills Estate: A Toast to Mike Grgich

Date: Wed, October 12, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
The legacy of California wines

Violet Grgich, Vice President for Sales and Marketing, Grgich Hills Estate
In conversation with Sasha Paulsen, Features Editor, Napa Valley Register

In the 40 years that have passed since he crafted the iconic Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that beat its French counterpart in the famous 1976 Judgment of Paris wine tasting competition, Miljenko "Mike" Grgich has garnered wide acclaim as an industry pioneer while his wines have been served at White House state dinners.

Having grown up alongside her father in the winery, trying her hand at everything from the bottling line to the tasting room, Violet Ggrich will share her personal recollections on publishing her father’s newly released memoir, A Glass Full of Miracles, as well as the family's plans for the future.

Image - Luvvie Ajayi

An Evening with Luvvie Ajayi

Date: Wed, October 12, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
De better

Luvvie Ajayi, Comedian; Blogger; Author

Luvvie Ajayi, blogger and comedian extraordinaire, is that friend who brings up all the “touchy” topics you’re not supposed to talk about at dinner, like love, sex, money and politics.

In her new book I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual, Luvvie deftly dissects everything from feminism to friendship to social media to sex tapes, all the while encouraging readers to take a hard look at why they think and act the way they do in today’s crazy-connected, digital world.

Luvvie can and does school her readers on everything from proper Facebook etiquette to race relations: she tells you to “do better,” and people will want to listen.

Recently named a member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100, Luvvie’s award-winning blog AwesomelyLuvvie reaches more than 500,000 readers. She’s a highly coveted speaker all over the world, and she’s the executive director of the Red Pump Project, a national HIV/AIDS non-profit.

Luvvie’s bringing the awesome to the INFORUM stage, and we can’t wait!

Thu 10/13

New Member Reception October 13th

Date: Thu, October 13, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM
Learn about and join the Club

Are you new to the Club? Just want to explore and check it out?

Come take a peek, meet other members and staff and learn about all The Commonwealth Club offers. Experience firsthand how The Commonwealth Club has become the nation’s leading public forum. Bring a friend and explore the Club together!

Fri 10/14

Image - Nancy Cohen

Nancy Cohen: Is the U.S. Ready to Elect a Woman President?

Date: Fri, October 14, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Gender politics in the nation's highest office

Nancy L. Cohen, Historian; Author, Breakthrough: The Making of America’s First Woman President
In conversation with Dan Ashley, ABC 7 News Anchor; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

With election day just a few weeks away, Nancy Cohen, a frequent writer and commentator on women's political leadership, will draw on some 125 interviews with elected officials and strategists of both parties to assess the history of women's experience in politics, the changing political climate, and the current prospects for Hillary Clinton to win the country's highest elective office.

Dr. Cohen is author of four books, including the widely acclaimed Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America and The Reconstruction of American Liberalism. Her writing on American politics has appeared in the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, and Rolling Stone. She has taught politics and history at Occidental College, UCLA and Cal State Long Beach, and holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Image - Nob Hill Walking Tour

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Fri, October 14, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM
Explore one of San Francisco's original "Seven Hills"

Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills.” Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the West Coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford, and other members of the Big Four.

Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Stanford Court, and Huntington Hotel. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral, and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.

Mon 10/17

Why Russia and Ukraine Fight

Date: Mon, October 17, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
The current and historic reasons for the conflict

Herman Pirchner, Jr., President, The American Foreign Policy Council

Pirchner will examine the imperialist and nationalist ideology that drives Russia's interference in the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Additionally, he will discuss how the centuries-long repression of Ukrainian culture by Russia and the USSR—especially in the 1930s—have motivated Ukraine's spirited defense of its territory. Pirchner will conclude with an analysis of current events affecting this war, which has killed more than 10,000 people and created 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees.

Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your Parents.

Date: Mon, October 17, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM
Discussion group

Dr. Richard G. Caro, Facilitator

This regular discussion group explores new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older. Not only do we uncover interesting new products at the intersection of aging and technology, we also conduct a series of ongoing deep-dive discussions into topics such as brain health, apps for seniors, hearing and wearables for seniors. The results of our discussions will be shared with a larger community of older adults interested in improving their quality of life through our partner in this initiative, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC.

The discussions are facilitated by Dr. Richard Caro, whom many of you have heard speak at prior Grownups forum events

Image - Brower Youth Award Winners

Special Preview: Meet the 17th Annual Brower Youth Award Winners

Date: Mon, October 17, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Recognizing youth environmental activism

Xerxes Libsch, New York, age 17
Susette Onate, Florida, age 17
Karina Gonsalez, Arizona, age 22
Heidi Kritz, Alaska, age 21
Erica Davis, Tennessee, age 22
Will Amos, California, age 21
Rosemary Brower Olsen, Granddaughter of David R. Brower—Moderator

The Brower Youth Awards are recognized as North America's most prestigious prize for youth environmental activism between the ages of 13-22. Six winners will be announced at the public awards ceremony in San Francisco.

Join us for a special preview night, when we will hear more about what inspires, challenges and excites each of these young environmental change-makers. Learn more about past winners and the awards program by visiting broweryouthawards.org.

Reading Californians Book Discussion Group: Elevation: 6,040, by Earnest J. Finney

Date: Mon, October 17, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Book discussion group

Elevation: 6,040 by Earnest J. Finney will be discussed at the next book group meeting Rosco McAdams and his younger brother and sister have always lived with their parents, Sebastian and Moonstar, in an isolated cabin high on a ridge in California's northern Sierra. The children have mostly been home-schooled. However, each year In the spring when Moonstar can't take the snow anymore, she has taken the children down the mountain to a school and has returned back to the small cabin in the late summer. But In April 1981, Moonstar, because of a fluke,becomes a substitute teacher in a small town. Thirteen year old Roscoe assumes that when summer comes, they will go back to the ridge and to the father. But they don't, and then everything Roscoe thinks he knows begins to fall apart.

This novella won the Silver Medal in the Commonwealth Club’s 85th Annual California Book Awards, which recognized the best published writings in California in 2015. Elevation: 6,040 also won the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize.

Please come join us in this upcoming discussion.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour 10/17/16

Date: Mon, October 17, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Are you prepared for the November election? We'll help

Joe Garofoli, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter
Carla Marinucci, Senior Writer, Politico California Playbook; Twitter  
Additional Panelist TBA

Election Day is almost here. Some of you will have already voted, and are now biting your nails for the final outcome.

Join us then 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 10/18

Image - Elaine Kamarck

Why Presidents Fail and How They Can Succeed Again

Date: Tue, October 18, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Success and failure in the White House

Elaine Kamarck, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Author, Why Presidents Fail and How They Can Succeed Again

Elaine Kamarck argues that for most of their lives, Americans have experienced government failure. The idea that government can and will produce results, implement policy, and efficiently govern the nation is met with rolled eyes. Kamarck explores the failings of presidents Carter, Bush and Obama with a bipartisan analysis of how and why each fiasco occurred.

Her insider’s perspective provides accessible explanations into the inner-workings and political bureaucracy that can cause a governmental meltdown. One big problem she sees is that we reward communicators over managers, rhetoric over governing skills. But persuasive speeches and tweets need to be balanced with a grasp of policy and how to implement it.

Image - Wine

Bread, Wine and Chocolate in a Warming World

Date: Tue, October 18, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
A matter of good taste

Jonathan Foley, Executive Director, California Academy of Sciences
Simran Sethi, Author, Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love

The industrialization of food has caused much of the food we eat to taste the same, whether you are nibbling at a farmer’s market in San Francisco, a Midwestern barbecue or a fast food joint in China. Ninety-five percent of the world’s calories now come from only 30 species, and Simran Sethi says a closer look at America’s cornucopia of grocery store options shows that our foods are primarily made up of only corn, wheat, rice, palm oil and soybeans. Sethi traveled to six continents in search of delicious and endangered tastes and how we can save the foods we love.

Jonathan Foley is an expert on the environmental and human health benefits of a diversified food system and the perils of industrial monoculture. In an influential National Geographic article, he outlined a vision for feeding 9 billion people. He says the answer doesn’t need to be factory farms versus small organic ones; there’s another way, and researchers at the California Academy of Sciences are busy working on ways to feed the people without destroying their home.

Image - Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek: Author and Optimist

Date: Tue, October 18, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Embrace working together to overcome challenges

Simon Sinek, Author, Start with Why and Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration; Twitter

Sinek's newest book, Together is Better, is a celebration of that simple human idea that we are better when we help each other than we are when we work alone.

Too often, we avoid asking for help when we need it or refuse to accept it when it’s offered for fear that it will make us look weak or put us or our job at risk. We often keep self-doubt to ourselves instead of turning to someone we trust for inspiration.

Together is Better has combined some of Sinek’s favorite quotes, amazing illustrations, storytelling and commentary. In the simplest way possible, Sinek reminds us what it means to be a leader, the courage it takes to ask for help and the value of working together. It is a story that illustrates the need for leaders to foster environments in which trust and cooperation can thrive.

Sinek, the best selling author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last, has taught companies and employees around the world how to inspire people. He is known for popularizing the concept of “Why,” and his TED talk is the third most-watched presentation with more than 27 million views.

Wed 10/19

Image - Dr Gary Gottlieb

Better Health for the World’s Poorest Will Strengthen Global Security

Date: Wed, October 19, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Global health and global peace

Dr. Gary Gottlieb, CEO, Partners In Health

While the developed world enjoys economic and social advancement enabled by health-care improvements, millions of people around the world continue to die from 18th and 19th century illnesses. The world’s poorest people deserve access to the modern health care that people in wealthier countries take for granted. We not only can deliver modern health services, we must do so. Global health is a key to global order.

Dr. Gottlieb is the CEO of Partners In Health. From 2010 until February of 2015, he served as president and CEO of Partners HealthCare, the parent of the Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals, operating the largest health-care delivery organization in New England and among the nation’s largest nonprofit biomedical research and training enterprises. Dr. Gottlieb is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Co-founded by visionary humanitarians Dr. Paul Farmer, Ophelia Dahl, current World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and others, Partners In Health today reaches 7 million people around the world and employs 18,000 people, including 15,000 local community health workers.

Image - Presidential Debate Watch Party
This event is Sold Out

Presidential Debate Watch Party 10/19

Date: Wed, October 19, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM
Watch the debates

Join INFORUM, Brigade and KQED at the swanky Hotel Zetta to watch all three 2016 presidential debates!

This election cycle has already been full of unforgettable moments; you won't want to miss the opportunity to watch Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump face off live and debate the issues as they compete for your vote in November.

Bring your friends and your opinions, we'll provide the snacks and drinks!

Image - Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson in Conversation with Chris Cosentino

Date: Wed, October 19, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Kitchen adventures from Ethiopia to Sweden to Harlem

Marcus Samuelsson, Chef; Author, The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem; Twitter:
In conversation with Chef Chris Cosentino

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

When Chef Samuelsson opened Red Rooster in Harlem, he envisioned more than just a restaurant. He wanted to create a melting pot that would highlight Harlem’s vibrant multicultural history with food, art and music.

A James Beard award-winner, Samuelsson reflects on his journey from Ethiopia to Sweden to Harlem, and all the kitchen adventures he has encountered along the way.

Image - Pascal Lee and Andy Weir and Mary Roach

Exploring Mars with Pascal Lee, Andy Weir and Mary Roach

Date: Wed, October 19, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
How to turn the Earthling into the Martian.

Dr. Pascal Lee, Co-founder, Mars Institute; Planetary Scientist, SETI Institute; Principal Investigator of the Haughton-Mars Project, NASA Ames Research Center; Author, Mission: Mars
Andy Weir, Author, The Martian
Mary Roach, Author, Packing for Mars—Moderator

Sooner or later, humans will walk on the Red Planet. Weir and Lee want it to be “sooner,” and they have deep insights—both technical and psychological—about how to make it happen. Join Lee and Weir for a spirited conversation on the promise and peril of humanity’s first in-person exploration of an alien planet.

Thu 10/20

Image - Eric Swalwell

Election Education: An Evening with Rep. Eric Swalwell

Date: Thu, October 20, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Eric Swalwell, U.S. Representative (D, CA-15)
Nellie Bowles, Silicon Valley Correspondent, HBO'S "Vice News Tonight"—Moderator

Congressman Eric Swalwell has quickly made a name for himself as the voice of the millennial generation in Congress. The first person in his family to go to college, Rep. Swalwell is fighting for student loan reform and advocating for affordable housing and paid family leave.

An avid user of social media platforms like Snapchat and Twitter, Swalwell has even inspired the popular hashtag #Swalwelling. He’s also believed to be the first member of Congress to Vine on the House floor and he has used Facebook Live to stream from the House chamber.

Last year Swalwell created the bipartisan Sharing Economy Caucus with Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, which focuses on the opportunities and challenges related to the rise of companies like Uber and Airbnb. Rep. Swalwell is also a member of the United Solutions Caucus, created in 2012 by a group of incoming freshman lawmakers who are working across political party lines to address important policy matters.

Join INFORUM to hear more from this political up-and-comer and to share your thoughts with him about the issues that matter most to you as we look toward the 2016 elections.

Image - Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader: Fighting for Democracy

Date: Thu, October 20, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Of the people, by the people

Ralph Nader, Activist; Author, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think; Twitter:  
Joshua Johnson, Creator/Host, Rockit Fuel Radio Podcast; Lecturer, U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism—Moderator

In this unprecedented election year, Nader makes an inspired case about how he thinks our country can—and must—be democratically managed by communities guided by the U.S. Constitution, not by big business or the wealthy few.

Nader has fought for decades to give Americans back their political voice. He draws from his own experiences and shares his core political beliefs on how we can protect our rights to ensure democracy for all.