The Alameda Public Affairs Forum is a voluntary non-profit, non-partisan educational group whose purpose is to educate the public in Alameda and the wider San Francisco-East Bay Area about issues of local, national, and international concern.

The APAF presents forums, discussion meetings and seminars to which the public is invited free of charge.

Voluntary donations to cover the costs of presenting the meetings and publicity are solicited at the meetings.

We’ve inaugurated a new custom to begin the evening: a reception with snacks and juice and coffee before the Forum, starting at 6PM, in the Library coffee shop – bring your favorite finger food, dessert or juice etc., to share. A good time to chat with the guest speaker(s) and your other friends before the Forum program at 7:15.

For more information,

Contact APAF


Eliz Eliassen photoGretchen Lipow’s interest in peace and justice goes back to her childhood; her father was a WPA artist and worked for the ILWU.  Attending art school as a child, she often accompanied her father to sites where he worked on vast murals depicting the political turmoil of the 1930’s and the emerging labor movement.

She attended California of Fine Arts, California College of Arts and Crafts, and UC Berkeley, then completed post-graduate studies at San Francisco State to earn a Masters degree and teaching credential.

While she was a student at UC Berkeley, she became a leader of the campus Congress of Racial Equality and treasurer of the Free Speech Movement.

In 1965, Mrs. Lipow began work in an ESEA Title One Program with the New York City schools and set up the first Spanish-English Resource Center in a New York City Public elementary school.

Back in California, in 1971 she began teaching in Alameda Unified School District schools, and set up the district's first English as a Second Language program. Also implemented middle school "sheltered English" program.

In 1975, Mrs. Lipow ushered in collective bargaining for California public schools and held leadership positions in the Alameda Education Association, including the Presidency.  She was a member of the California Teachers Association (CTA) State Council for twelve years, formulating policy on second language acquisition. She has been a delegate to National Education Association conferences as well as to International Education (EI) Congresses in ten countries.

She is a founding member of the NEA Peace and Justice Caucus and has been the recipient of many CTA/NEA awards. A founding member of Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) in 1974, she is currently President of the East Bay Chapter. Mrs. Lipow is President of Alameda/Contra Costa NEA/CTA Retirees.

She continues to work on vital legislative campaign issues, such as health care, school funding and the repeal of the "No Child  Left Behind" act.

Mrs. Lipow co-founded the Alameda Public Affairs Forum in 2003, and the Center for Global Peace and Democracy in 2007.



Unless otherwise noted, the Forum is held every second Saturday evening from 7 to 9:30 pm in Conference Rooms A/B at the Alameda Free Library, 1550 Oak St. (Oak & Lincoln), Alameda, California. Come at 6:30 to snack and socialize. Bring something to share.

Enter the Library through the back entrance off of the parking lot.

Wheelchair accessible!


On Public Transit:

From Fruitvale BART, take AC Transit 50 to SW Corner of Park St. at Santa Clara. Walk NW one block to Oak St. Turn right.