Mensa was founded in England in 1946 by Roland Berrill, a lawyer, and Dr. Lance Ware, a scientist and lawyer. They had the idea of creating an association for bright people, whose only qualification for membership was a high IQ.
The original aims, as now, were to establish an association that was non-political and free from any distinction of race or religion.
The association welcomes people from all walks of life who score in the top 2% on an IQ test. The aim is to learn from each other by discussing and participating in a wide range of social and cultural activities.
What does Mensa mean?
The word "Mensa" means "table" in Latin. Mensa is a round table society, where race, colour, creed, national origin, age, politics, education or social background play no role.
What are Mensa's goals?
- To identify and promote human intelligence for the benefit of humanity
- To encourage research into the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence
- To promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members
What opinions does Mensa have?
Mensa does not take a position on politics, religion or social issues. Mensa has members from so many different countries and cultures with different viewpoints that to embrace a particular viewpoint would go against Mensa's role as a forum for all viewpoints.
Is there such a thing as a typical member of Mensa?
No, there certainly is not! There is no dominant characteristic of Mensa members, apart from a high IQ... and that's where the similarities end!
Mensa members vary in age from 2 to over 100, but most are between 20 and 60 years old. In terms of education, they range from school leavers to people with several doctorates. And the range of professions is even more dazzling: policemen and professors, truck drivers and taxidermists, manual workers and soldiers, doctors and couriers, scientists and singers, government officials and glassblowers, the list is endless.
There are famous people and award-winners, but the vast majority are people whose names you have never heard. Ordinary people with an extraordinary IQ, who are generally very curious, quick to understand and have very diverse interests. Most Mensans have a well-developed sense of humour, they usually have a lot to say but they don't always like to talk! Mensans (the members, not the association) often have strong opinions - and several of them.
Why would I become a member?
The reason for becoming a member of Mensa Be is different for everyone: curiosity, self-development, confirmation, advocacy or finding peers.
Because of the very diverse activities and members, the association is really a social club for one member, and for another member a place of recognition or a safe place with a high intellectual challenge.