The Commonwealth Club | Impartial Political Discussion Forum for April

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The Commonwealth Club lecture series presents a new episode every week on MCAET!

The mission of the Commonwealth Club of California is to be the leading national forum open to all for the impartial discussion of public issues important to the membership, community and nation. MCAET is proud to present lectures from The Commonwealth Club, featuring a lineup of nationally renowned speakers from chefs to authors, from mayors to Presidents.

Watch Commonwealth Club on MCAET.ORG/LIVE on the following days and times (April 2017 Schedule):


Saturday, April 1st at 4:30 PM & 10:30 PM
Sunday, April 2nd at 4:30 AM & 10:30 AM

The Future of Choice with Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood

This year, Planned Parenthood marks its 100th year of providing vital health-care services, education and information to women, men and families across America.  While 2.5 million men and women visit Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers annually, the organization faces major opposition and during this historic election year, Planned Parenthood and its supporters have been under scrutiny by politicians and others who want to eliminate the organization’s state and federal funding and shut down its clinics. One side argues that Planned Parenthood’s initiatives should not be bolstered by the government and often have a negative impact, while Planned Parenthood’s supporters assert that without the organization’s services, public health and safety are potentially endangered.  The Commonwealth Club welcomes Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards for a powerful and timely discussion about Planned Parenthood’s history, its role in our political and cultural dialogue, and what the future holds for the organization as it looks toward its next 100 years.


Monday, April 3rd at 1:30 PM & 10:00 PM
Tuesday, April 4th at 1:30 AM, 7:30 AM & 10:00 AM
Saturday, April 8th at 4:30 PM & 10:30 PM
Sunday, April 9th at 4:30 AM

George Shultz: Lessons from Government, Business and Life

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.  Tune in to 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.


Monday, April 10th at 1:30 PM & 10:00 PM
Tuesday, April 11th at 1:30 AM & 7:30 AM
Saturday, April 15th at 4:30 PM & 10:30 PM
Sunday, April 16th at 4:30 AM & 10:30 AM

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen

Dr. Janet Yellen took office as chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in 2014, for a four-year term ending February 3, 2018. Dr. Yellen also serves as chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee, the country’s principal monetary policymaking body. Prior to her appointment as chair, Dr. Yellen served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, while simultaneously beginning a 14-year term as a member of the board that will expire January 31, 2024. Dr. Yellen is professor emeritus of business and economics at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has been a faculty member since 1980. From 2004 through 2010 she served as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and previously chaired President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. Dr. Yellen holds a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and has written on a wide variety of macroeconomic issues, specializing in the causes, mechanisms and implications of unemployment.


Monday, April 17th at 1:30 PM, 7:30 PM & 10:00 PM
Tuesday, April 18th at 1:30 AM, 7:30 AM & 10:00 AM
Saturday, April 22nd at 4:30 PM & 10:30 PM
Sunday, April 23rd at 4:30 AM & 10:30 AM

Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know

Over the coming decades, artificial intelligence will profoundly impact the way we live, work, wage war, play, seek a mate, educate our young and care for our elderly. It is likely to greatly increase our aggregate wealth, but it will also upend our labor markets, reshuffle our social order, and strain our private and public institutions. Eventually it may alter how we see our place in the universe, as machines pursue goals independent of their creators and outperform us in domains previously believed to be the sole dominion of humans. Jerry Kaplan is widely known as an artificial intelligence expert, serial entrepreneur, technical innovator, educator, bestselling author and futurist. He co-founded four Silicon Valley startups, two of which became publicly traded companies, and teaches at Stanford University.  Join Kaplan for an illuminating conversation about the future of artificial intelligence and how much humans should entrust to machines.


Monday, April 24th at 1:30 PM, 7:30 PM & 10:00 PM
Tuesday, April 25th at 1:30 AM, 7:30 AM & 10:00 AM
Saturday, April 29th at 4:30 PM & 10:30 PM
Sunday, April 30th at 4:30 AM & 10:30 AM

Terrorism Expert Brian Fishman: How Can ISIS Be Defeated?

To defeat ISIS, you need to understand ISIS. Brian Fishman is a leading expert on ISIS. He served as the director of research at the United States Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center and began studying the progenitors of ISIS in 2005. He predicted the rise of the Islamic State in early 2011, prior to the Syrian civil war. Fishman says that the rise of ISIS was neither an accident of history nor an unpredictable product of chaos in Syria, but rather the fulfillment of a vision to capitalize on Syria’s demographic and geopolitical frailty, detailed in a plan that runs through 2020. He says that “master plan” offers important insight into how ISIS might now evolve. Fishman says that only by learning the Islamic State’s full history and the strategy that drove it can we understand the forces that could ultimately tear it apart. Fishman is a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.


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