Upcoming Events

Tue 8/16

Image - Margot Hirsch and Matt Drange

Safer Guns: A Tech Remedy for the Gun Violence Epidemic

Date: Tue, August 16, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Part of our Big Ideas to Solve Big Problems special series

Margot Hirsch, President, Smart Tech Challenges Foundation
Matt Drange, Technology and Business Writer, Forbes

With federal standards for smart guns coming this fall, along with grants for law enforcement to purchase smart firearms, there is renewed interest in technology to prevent the harm done when guns fall into the wrong hands. Each year there are 20,000 injuries and deaths caused by accidental shootings and teen suicides, nearly all of which advocates say could be prevented with personalized firearms. A recent Johns Hopkins study found that 6 in 10 Americans support the development of smart gun technologies, including modifications to the existing 300 million guns in America today—a rare middle ground politically.

Image - Above the Law

Above the Law? Addressing Sexual Assault on Campus and Beyond

Date: Tue, August 16, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Powerful panel discussion

Michele Dauber, Frederick l. Richman Professor of Law, Professor (by courtesy) of Sociology, Stanford University
Jeffrey Rosen, Santa Clara County District Attorney
Additional Panelists TBA

In the wake of the recent controversy over the sentencing of Stanford student Brock Turner for the rape of an unconscious fellow student, many are beginning to question the efficacy of the current policies and laws in place regarding sexual assault on college campuses and in the broader community.

The public is in deep debate over whether current legal and campus practices are fair and meet their intended goals of educating and protecting students, supporting survivors and holding colleges and communities accountable.

Join INFORUM for a powerful panel discussion about the issue of sexual assault with leaders across the legal, academic, government and advocacy fields who are all playing a pivotal role in shaping how sexual assault is addressed on college campuses and beyond.

Wed 8/17

Image - Will Durst

Will Durst: 2016 Election Madness!

Date: Wed, August 17, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
You need a satirist to make sense of this election.

Will Durst, Political Satirist; Twitter
Melissa Caen, Political Analyst, CBS SF—Moderator

In possibly one of the most contentious and hotly contested elections in our lifetimes, don’t miss Will Durst’s take on the 2016 election cycle and the candidates seeking the White House.

A five-time Emmy nominee, Will Durst has been hailed by The New York Times as “quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today.” Durst frequently appears on numerous television broadcasts, including CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. His Off-Broadway one-man show, “The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” and book of the same name received rave reviews from The New York Times and The New York Post, and he continues to be a leading voice in American political satire. He is currently performing his one-man show, "Elect to Laugh: 2016," at theaters around the Bay Area, including every Tuesday at The Marsh in San Francisco.

Fri 8/19

Interfaith Power and Light

Date: Fri, August 19, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Part of our Big Solutions for Big Problems special series

Reverend Sally Binghim, Executive Director, Interfaith Power and Light's Regeneration Project
Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Executive Director, Northern California Board of Rabbis
Michael Pappas, Executive Director, San Francisco Interfaith Council—Moderator
Additional Panelists TBA

Representatives of the three Abrahamic faiths will discuss each of their faith's views about protecting the Earth, caring for the environment and being proactive in combatting climate change, which many believe is Earth's biggest problem. Rev. Bingham will also describe the work of the Regeneration Project, which promotes renewable energy and conservation as part of Interfaith Power and Light, an interfaith climate change initiative.

Image - Nob Hill

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Fri, August 19, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM

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 8/22

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 8/22/16

Date: Mon, August 22, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Political discussion without the shouting. But with wine.

Panelists TBA

We'll 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 8/23

Music As an Alternative to Adversity

Date: Tue, August 23, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
Part of our special series Big Solutions for Big Problems

Peter Lewis, Musician; Composer; Songwriter; Guitarist; Founding Member, the San Francisco Rock Band Moby Grape
Arwen Lewis, Musician; Composer; Songwriter; Guitarist; Primary Artist and Lead Singer, Recent Album of Classic Moby Grape Compositions

Peter is Arwen's father, and together they travel and perform acoustic shows featuring original music written by both of them as well as classic Moby Grape compositions.

Peter and Arwen Lewis will discuss how music, from the perspectives of both the composer and the audience, has been used throughout history to "escape" from adversity. They will talk about the healing components of music and how music allows people to connect with each other. Peter and Arwen will also perform songs composed by Alexander "Skip" Spence and songs written by Peter and Arwen. The presentation will include their own personal experiences with the healing components of music; they also will talk about the process of composing and how this takes the composer into an alternative reality.

There will be live music during their presentation, including wonderful Moby Grape songs, and this presentation will be a treat not to be missed.

Image - Sun Power

Can California Get to 100-percent Clean Power?

Date: Tue, August 23, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Mark Ferron, Member, California Independent System Operator
Mark Jacobson, Professor, Stanford
Geisha J. Williams, President, PG&E

Mark Jacobson leads a team that says California and other states can get to 100-percent renewable power by 2050. Celebrity activists Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio are backing him.

But critics say the theoretical plan doesn’t consider the hard realities of the power grid and that renewables are sometimes oversold. California recently passed a law requiring half of the state’s power be renewable by 2030.

Should the state be more ambitious to battle climate disruption? What does PG&E think about going all-in on renewable power?

Wed 8/24

Image - Richard G. Caro

Can Technology Make Aging Better and Cheaper?

Date: Wed, August 24, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
Part of our special August series Big Solutions for Big Problems

Richard G. Caro, Ph.D, Physics, Oxford University; Rhodes Scholar

While much of the Western world worries about the economic and human costs of an aging population, Dr. Caro argues that there is room for optimism—and that by harnessing the power of technology and the untapped wisdom of the older adult population, we can improve the quality of life as we age, expand the capabilities of caregivers, and perhaps even make the process of aging less costly.

Fri 8/26

Image - Bill Hayton

BBC Correspondent Bill Hayton: Who Owns the South China Sea?

Date: Fri, August 26, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
The surprising history of the hotly contested region

Bill Hayton, BBC Correspondent, Author, The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia
Frank Wu, Professor and former Dean, University of California Hastings Law School; Chairman, Committee of 100—Moderator

The South China Sea is where China’s rising ambitions are colliding with the United States’ global role. This strategic competition is interacting in dangerous and unpredictable ways with tensions about the fate of the atolls and islands that dot the sea: the Spratly islands, the Paracels and Scarborough Shoal. Bill Hayton will explain the — sometimes bizarre — origins of the various claims and suggest how they might be resolved.

Hayton’s The South China Sea was named as one of The Economist's books of the year in 2014. He has worked for BBC News since 1998 and was the BBC's reporter in Vietnam in 2006-07. He spent 2013 embedded with Myanmar's state broadcaster working on media reform. He is also an associate fellow with the Asia Program of Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. He has given presentations about South China Sea and Southeast Asian issues for think-tanks and government institutions in the UK, United States, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam. His written work has been published in The Economist, the South China Morning Post, The Diplomat and The National Interest.

Mon 8/29

Image - UC

The University of California's Role in Confronting Climate Change and Leading the World on a Sustainable Environmental Path

Date: Mon, August 29, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Teenie Matlock, McClatchy Chair of Communications and Professor of Cognitive Science, University of California, Merced
Christine Gulbranson, Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Entrepeneurship, University of California
Daniel Kammen, The Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy, University of California, Berkeley; Parallel Appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, The Goldman School of Public Policy, and the Department of Nuclear Engineering
Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group Inc.; Producer, GreenBiz.com; Lead Author, The Annual State of Green Business Report—Moderator

California and the University of California are leaders in confronting one of the world's most complex and daunting issues: climate change. Three distinguished UC professors from across the University system will discuss how the UC and the state of California lead and plan to continue leading the world on a path to a sustainable environmental future.

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, August 29, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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 8/30

Image - Sam Dodge, Mark Farrell, and CW Nevius

Helping the Homeless of San Francisco: What Works?

Date: Tue, August 30, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Part of our Big Solutions for Big Problems special series

Sam Dodge, Director, Mayors Office of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement (HOPE)
Mark Farrell, San Francisco Supervisor, District 2
C.W. Nevius, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle

We see the sad lives of the homeless in our beautiful city, and our hearts sink. But is there an answer? In different ways, our three panelists have given a great deal of attention to the problem. They will share their observations and possible remedies.

Wed 8/31

Image - Rhodessa Jones

Cultural Odyssey's Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women and HIV Circle

Date: Wed, August 31, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Part of our special series Big Solutions for Big Problems

Rhodessa Jones, Co-Artistic Director, Cultural Odyssey; Actress; Teacher; Writer; Director, Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women and HIV Circle; Former Visiting Artist in Residence, University of California, Berkeley Black Theater Workshop; Visiting Professor at St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California; Spring 2014 Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence, College of Letters and Science and the School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In 1989, on the basis of material developed while conducting classes at the San Francisco County Jail, Rhodessa Jones created “Big Butt Girls, Hard Headed Women,” a performance piece based on the lives of the incarcerated women she encountered. Based on this observation, Jones founded The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women to explore whether an arts-based approach could help reduce the numbers of women returning to jail.

In 2008, The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women joined forces with UCSF’s Women’s HIV Clinic to create theater that explores what it means to be living with the virus in the 21st century. For the past seven years, The Medea Project: HIV Circle has performed shows all around the United States, sharing the truth and the stories of what it means to be female and infected or affected.

Image - Tristan Walker and John Maeda: Redefining Design

Tristan Walker and John Maeda: Redefining Design

Date: Wed, August 31, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Redefining product design and success

Tristan Walker, Founder & CEO, Walker & Company Brands, Inc.
John Maeda, Design Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers—Moderator

After recognizing the need for better-designed personal care products for people of color, Tristan Walker, a former entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz and director of business development at Foursquare, struck out on his own and launched Walker & Company Brands, Inc.

Now, Walker & Company is an emerging leader in the field of product design, and his company's wares are being met with both critical acclaim from health and beauty industry heavyweights and financial backing from celebrities like John Legend and Magic Johnson.

Join INFORUM, Tristan Walker and design industry guru John Maeda for an insightful discussion about how companies like Walker & Company Brands are finding success and redefining product design by making products that are both visually appealing and highly effective available to the masses.

Wed 9/7

Image - Steven Hill

Expand Social Security Now!

Date: Wed, September 07, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
A plan to defend and expand Social Security

Steven Hill, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation; Holtzbrinck Fellow, American Academy in Berlin; Author

Three-quarters of Americans depend heavily on Social Security in their elderly years and nearly half would be living in poverty without it. But as important and popular as it is, Social Security has become a political football. A well-financed campaign — supported by conservatives, special interest groups, and even leading Democrats — has lobbied for cuts and significant “entitlement reform,” falsely proclaiming that Social Security is going broke. Policy expert Steven Hill argues that Social Security not only should be defended, it should be substantially expanded.

Learn about his proposal to double the monthly benefit and how to pay for it by closing many of the tax loopholes and deductions that disproportionately favor the wealthy few.

Thu 9/8

Image - Chinatown Walking Tour

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, September 08, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM
Join us for a neighborhood adventure

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.

Mon 9/12

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

Date: Mon, September 12, 2016
Time: 1:30 PM
Solutions to challenges of aging

Richard G. Caro, Ph.D., 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 - Karen Paget

Patriotic Betrayal: Inside a Secret CIA Campaign

Date: Mon, September 12, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Karen Paget, Author, Patriotic Betrayal: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Secret Campaign to Enroll American Students in the Crusade Against Communism

Monday Night Philosophy considers the social ramifications of a democratic society allowing internal spying. In 1967, Ramparts magazine exposed a CIA secret: a decades-old project to enroll American students in the crusade against communism by suborning the National Student Association. Patriotic Betrayal tells a story filled with self-serving rationalizations, layers of duplicity, and bureaucratic double-talk. Author Karen Paget, herself a former member of the NSA, mined hundreds of archival sources and declassified documents, and interviewed more than 150 people, to uncover precisely how the CIA turned the NSA into an intelligence asset during the Cold War. Her answer throws a sharp light on the persistent argument about whether America’s national security interests can be secured by skullduggery and deception.

Tue 9/13

Image - Steven Campbell

A Blinding Flash of the Obvious: Rewiring Your Brain for Success

Date: Tue, September 13, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
Changing your mind

Steven R. Campbell, M.S., Information Systems

Campbell presents an eye-opening look at the latest research on how our brains conform to the messages we give it: When we optimize those messages, our brains will literally rewire themselves again to create new, positive self-images of who we want to be.

This is formally called “neuroplasticity.” Understanding this could open doors to creating more success in our health, personal relationships and in our businesses.

It's not magic...it's science! The speaker will share practical knowledge of cutting-edge brain research on creating success, better health, loving relationships and overcoming your fears as well as an understanding of the surprising power of thinking differently when you mess up.