Upcoming Events

Thu 4/27

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Journalist Chris Whipple: Secrets of the White House Gatekeepers

Date: Thu, April 27, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
The power of the gatekeeper

Chris Whipple, Documentary Filmmaker; Author, The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency
Joe Garofoli, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter —Moderator

Can Donald Trump, the ultimate outsider, learn how to be an effective president? According to author and documentarian Chris Whipple, Trump cannot be effective unless he empowers a strong chief of staff to take charge of his White House and execute his agenda.

Drawing on his extensive interviews with two former presidents and 17 living chiefs of staff, Whipple says this is one of many lessons learned by such diverse figures as Dick Cheney, Rahm Emanuel, Donald Rumsfeld and Leon Panettta. Whipple says chiefs of staff, often referred to as "the gatekeepers," can make or break an administration. Whipple will offer new insight into our understanding of presidential history—from how James Baker’s expert managing of the White House, the press and Capitol Hill paved the way for the Reagan Revolution to how Watergate, the Iraq War and even the bungled Obamacare rollout might, conversely, have been prevented by a more effective chief. Come hear a fascinating look at this unique fraternity and the inner workings of the White House.

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Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty: 1,000 Wild Ways to Die

Date: Thu, April 27, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Exploring outlandish ways of dying

Cody Cassidy, Co-author, And Then You’re Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling Over Niagara 
Paul Doherty, Co-director and Senior Staff Scientist, Exploratorium; Co-author, And Then You’re Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling Over Niagara
In conversation with Kishore Hari, Director, Bay Area Science Festival

How far could you get digging a hole to China? How long could you last if you stood on the surface of the sun? Did you ever want insights into the physics, anatomy and astronomy behind some of the weirdest deaths you can think of? Paul Doherty, a senior scientist at San Francisco’s Exploratorium, and co-author Cody Cassidy answer these questions and more. Join us for an interesting conversation about some of the most cartoonish, outlandish and impossible deaths and how these fantastical scenarios relate to real science.

Fri 4/28

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Trump and the Middle East

Date: Fri, April 28, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Trump policies in the Middle East

Alon Sachar, Middle East Peace Advisor; Co-author, A Path to Peace
Eddy Simonian, Master's in International Studies
Maher Kalaji, Ph.D. in Chemistry
Banafsheh Keynoush, Ph.D., Middle East Scholar; Author, Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes—Moderator

A distinguished panel will discuss their perspectives on Donald Trump's presidency as well as policies and actions which may lead to peace or further conflict in the region. Alon Sachar has worked to advance Middle East peace under two U.S. administrations and cowrote A Path to Peace (with Senator George Mitchell). Maher Kalaji is a frequent contributor to our Middle East forum, and Eddy Simonian, an Assyrian Christian, wrote his master's thesis on Lebanon's sectarian conflict. Along with moderator Banafsheh Keynoush, the three panelists will present their perspectives on the potential effects of Trump’s words and actions in the Middle East.

Sat 4/29

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The New Political Climate

Date: Sat, April 29, 2017
Time: 4:30 PM
March on climate change

May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org
Debbie Dooley, President, Conservatives for Energy Freedom; Co-Founder, Tea Party Movement 
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One
Additional Speakers TBA

The 2014 Climate March in New York and other cities helped solidify public support in the run-up to the Paris climate accord the next year. But these days climate advocates are playing defense and trying to keep the Paris Agreement together. Will the Washington march have any impact on the politics related to climate change in the United States? Where can clean energy advance in the current political context?

Join Climate One as we go on the road for the People’s Climate Movement in Washington, D.C.

Mon 5/1

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Achieve More, Stress Less: Have Fun Getting Better Results from Fewer Resources

Date: Mon, May 01, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Using innovation to solve problems

Scott Sonenshein, Ph.D., Chaired Professor, School of Business at Rice University; Author, Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less—and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined

Would you like to achieve more with less—at work and at home—and be happier and more creative at the same time? Scott Sonenshein, author of Stretch, will teach us how to do it!

In a constantly changing world, fewer and fewer corporate and personal situations can be handled using practiced routines. Instead, we need to be resilient and use the resources we already have; we need to stretch beyond our normal set of solutions, colleagues and friends.

Sonenshein has rigorously researched techniques that produce results in a fluid environment. Teams learn to improvise quickly and pull in ideas from other disciplines. They play improvisational jazz instead of classical music, and they have fun doing it! We can use the same tools to improve our personal lives and relationships.

So come stretch out of your usual routine! Learn how to improve both your organization and yourself.

Sonenshein holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He also has degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Virginia. He teaches organizational behavior, change and leadership.

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John Mackey, Co-Founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market

Date: Mon, May 01, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Healthy eating for a disease-free life

John Mackey, Co-Founder and CEO, Whole Foods Market; Co-Author, The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity
In Conversation with Alison van Diggelen, Host, "Fresh Dialogues"; BBC Contributor

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

Mackey makes the case for why a whole food, plant-based diet is optimum for a long, healthy, disease-free life. As one of the leaders of this plant-based movement, Mackey shares his vision and discusses the science behind changing the way we eat. He will also address food, politics and health as well as the ethical and environmental impact of our dietary habits.

Tue 5/2

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Reengaging China on Human Rights

Date: Tue, May 02, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Changing China–U.S. relations

John Kamm, Founder and Executive Director, The Dui Hua Foundation 

In 2016, there was no bilateral human rights dialogue between China and the United States, nor was there any dialogue on rule of law. The decision to disengage was mutual. Now Beijing and Washington, D.C. are considering how (and if) to reengage on two of the most sensitive topics in their relationship: human rights and rule of law.

Although President Trump has discussed many issues related to U.S.–China relations, he has remained largely silent on human rights. John Kamm’s Dui Hua Foundation has been conducting an unofficial dialogue with the Chinese government and judiciary for many years. This dialogue focuses on treatment of prisoners, juvenile justice, women in prison and the death penalty—all topics that could be covered if official dialogue is revitalized. Kamm, having just returned from Beijing, will provide a briefing on where things stand in both the official and unofficial dialogue between China and the U.S. 

Wed 5/3

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Ben Franklin Circles

Date: Wed, May 03, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Ongoing Ben Franklin forum

Join us monthly, every first Wednesday, for a 21st-century version of Ben Franklin’s mutual improvement club. One evening a week, for more than 40 years, the founding father discussed and debated with his friends the 13 virtues that he felt formed the basis for personal and civic improvement, a list he created when he was 20 years old. The virtues to which he aspired included justice, resolution and humility (but don't misunderstand Ben on that one—his explanation of humility was "imitate Jesus and Socrates").

Ben Franklin Circles bring people together to discuss the most pressing philosophical and ethical issues of our time with the goal of improving ourselves and our world. 

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An Evening with Caitlyn Jenner

Date: Wed, May 03, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Challenges facing the transgender community

Caitlyn Jenner, Author of The Secrets of My Life; Twitter 
Buzz Bissinger, Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair; Co-author, The Secrets of My Life; Author, Friday Night Lights
In Conversation with Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell (Ret.), Chair, Santa Clara County Jail Commission

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

Join us for a rare conversation with one of the world’s most prominent transgender women. As former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn over the past few years, her personal journey has been public, painful and inspiring. What has her path of discovery taught her about truth, and what has it revealed about the challenges facing the transgender community? Bring your questions, and get ready to hear how a story of pain and deception can ultimately become one of embracing a person’s true identity.

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The Creatures Within Us

Date: Wed, May 03, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Surrounded by microorganisms

Heinrich Jasper, Ph.D., Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Brian Kennedy, Ph.D., Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Will Ludington, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Ludington Lab at the University of California, Berkeley

This program is sponsored by Relevant Wealth Advisors and by an anonymous donor.

The human body is a complex ecosystem for trillions of organisms—bacteria, fungi, viruses—that live on or in our bodies. The sheer number of these microorganisms exceeds even the number of cells in a human body. Scientists are only beginning to unravel the complex interactions between these microorganisms and their human host. While many of these creatures live in our mouths, lungs and other parts of our bodies, most are concentrated in the human gut. And while we influence what lives in our gut by what we eat and how we live, our gut microbial flora influences us—modulating hunger, food preferences and overall health.

Interestingly, a new therapeutic approach to battling chronic disease and aging may be to change your gut flora. Brian Kennedy will lead a discussion with two local experts in microbiome research, Heinrich Jasper and Will Ludington.

Thu 5/4

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Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, May 04, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Walking tour

Enjoy a Commonwealth Club neighborhood adventure. Join Rick Evans for a memorable, midday walk and discover the history and mysteries of Chinatown. Explore colorful alleys and side streets. Visit a Taoist temple, an herbal store, the site of the first public school in the state and the famous Fortune Cookie Factory.

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The Witches: Salem 1692

Date: Thu, May 04, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Account of Salem witch trials

Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize Winner; Author, The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem

The Witches is Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff's account of a primal mystery. Women's suffrage, Prohibition and the Salem witch trials are three rare moments when women played a central role in American history, and in Salem it was adolescent girls who stood at center stage. The panic began during a raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's niece began to writhe and roar. The panic spread quickly, as neighbors accused neighbors, husbands accused wives and parents, and children accused each other. The witch trials ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death. Drawing masterfully on the archives, Schiff introduces us to the strains of Puritan adolescent life and the vulnerability of wilderness settlements adrift from the mother country, and she brilliantly aligns them with our own anxieties: religious provocations, crowdsourcing and invisible enemies.

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How Cities Can Solve the Climate Challenge

Date: Thu, May 04, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Cities combating climate change

Carl PopeCo-Author (with Michael Bloomberg), Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet; Former Executive Director, Sierra Club
Diane Doucette, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy
Elizabeth Patterson, Mayor of Benicia, California
Rod G. Sinks, City Council Member of Cupertino, California
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One

Mayors around the country are bypassing national politics and working around federal restrictions to both clean up their cities and foster growth in renewable energy. In red and blue states, local leaders are solving traffic congestion, promoting smart growth, and preparing for the impacts climate disruption will have on public health, roads and other infrastructure. Cities are a good news climate story; most reductions in carbon pollution actually happen at the city and regional level.

Carl Pope teamed with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to write a book about how cities are cleaning up their regional economies. Join us for a conversation with an environmental legend and Bay Area leaders who are advancing sustainable communities despite enthusiasm for the brown economy in Washington, D.C. 

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This event is Sold Out

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant: Option B

Date: Thu, May 04, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Overcoming life's challenges

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook; Author, Option B
Adam Grant, Wharton Professor; Author, Option B
Kathy Jackson, CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank—Moderator

Join Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, authors of Option B, as they talk about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks. After the sudden death of her husband, Sandberg felt certain she and her children would never feel pure joy again. Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are steps people can take to recover and even rebound. Option B combines Sandberg’s emotional insights and Grant’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. The authors will share what they’ve learned on helping others in crisis; developing compassion for ourselves; raising strong children; and creating resilient families, communities and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to ordinary struggles, allowing us to build resilience for whatever lies ahead. Sandberg and Grant will discuss the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.

Fri 5/5

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The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle Between Faith and Reason

Date: Fri, May 05, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Modern Islam

Christopher de Bellaigue, M.A. in Oriental Studies, Cambridge; Journalist; Author, The Islamic Enlightenment; Contributor, The New Yorker; Former Tehran Correspondent, The Economist
Jonathan Curiel, Journalist; Author, Al' America: Travels Through America’s Arab and Islamic Roots—Moderator 

Christopher de Bellaigue, who has covered the Middle East since 1996, will discuss his latest book, The Islamic Enlightenment, which discusses Islamic history as it relates to the modern world. De Bellaigue posits that, contrary to popular opinion, remarkable men and women from across the Muslim world have welcomed modern ideals and practices.

Mon 5/8

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

Date: Mon, May 08, 2017
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.

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American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason

Date: Mon, May 08, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
American Enlightenment and ideals

Caroline Winterer, Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Classics, Stanford University; Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities; Director, Stanford Humanities Center; Author, American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason

Monday Night Philosophy investigates the accepted myth of the “American Enlightenment,” which suggests that the rejection of monarchy and establishment of a new republic in the U.S. in the 18th century was the realization of utopian philosophies born in the intellectual salons of Europe, which radiated outward to the New World. Winterer argues that this national mythology of a unitary, patriotic era of Enlightenment in America was created during the Cold War to shield against the threat of totalitarianism, and Americans in the 1700s were influenced by European models in far more complex ways than commonly thought. Winterer explores which of our ideas and ideals are truly rooted in the 18th century and which are inventions and mystifications of more recent times.

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The New Birds and Bees: Conversations About Climate

Date: Mon, May 08, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Boomers and millennials working together to address climate change

Carleen Cullen, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Cool the Earth
Michael Ranney, Professor, UC Berkeley’s Department of Psychology and the Graduate School of Education
Wilford Welch, Former U.S. Diplomat for the Nixon Administration; Author, In Our Hands: Handbook for Inter-generational Actions to Solve the Climate Crisis (self-published)
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One 

Different generations do no often join forces and fight for a common cause. But, more than ever, bridges are now being built to cross the generational divide in the fight against climate change. Boomers and millennials are coming together, taking action on the issue, creating a dialogue and educating one another. With boomers providing the wealth and millennials providing the energy, this new dream team is coming together, ready to tackle important issues related to climate change.

Nosrat and MacNaughton

Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Date: Mon, May 08, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Learn how to cook using salt, fat, acid and heat

Samin Nosrat, Chef; Author, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking; Twitter 
Wendy MacNaughton, Columnist, The California Sunday Magazine; Illustrator, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking; Twitter
Margo True, Food Editor, Sunset Magazine—Moderator

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

Samin Nosrat has taught everyone how to cook—professional chefs, children and even Michael Pollan—by mastering just four important elements: salt, fat, acid and heat. In this program, Nosrat will share her kitchen philosophy of making meals delicious by enhancing, balancing and adding texture and flavor. Hear the hows and whys of what good cooking can be.

Nosrat trained under Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and has been called “the next Julia Child” by NPR’s All Things Considered. MacNaughton is a renowned illustrator and contributed 150 images and infographics to the book.

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SFDebate

Date: Mon, May 08, 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.