Political Education

75 years of Mensa

75 years ago this month, Mensa International, ‘the high IQ society, was founded.

Mensa was founded in England in 1946 by Roland Berrill, a lawyer, and Dr. Lance Ware, a scientist. Berrill and Ware were interested in the subject of intelligence and created an organization designed to ‘identify, understand, and support intelligence; encourage research into intelligence, and create and seek both social and intellectual experiences for its members. Berrill and Ware chose the Latin word ‘mensa’ as its name because it means table as in round table.

The Mensa constitution identifies its three purposes. They are:

  • To identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity.
  • To encourage research into the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence.
  • To provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members.

Mensa members have opportunities to join discussion groups, social events, and annual meetings. There are 200 special interest groups (SIGs) devoted to scholarly topics and recreational interests. Regional Mensa chapters hold workshops, various events, publish newsletters and magazines, and hold their own annual conferences.

Berrill and Ware had hoped that Mensa would become a problem-solving organization that would save the world, but today’s Mensa avoids the minefield of partisan politics.

American Mensa executive director Pamela Donahoo was asked why people join Mensa,

“We find people join just to join because their third-grade teacher said they would never amount to anything… They need some sort of validation, and then they realize all of a sudden that there’s also this group of people in Mensa who are really fun. So why people join and why people stay are very different reasons.”
“We aim to challenge and engage learners at any age and welcome them to an organization that really recognizes and celebrates their giftedness.”

American Mensa executive director Pamela Donahoo

Over the years humorists have poked fun at Mensa:

Woody Allen:

The Whore of Mensa

Steve Martin:

How I Joined Mensa

Scott Adams:

Dilbert cartoons

To learn more about Mensa click here.


Thanks and a tip of the hat to By http://www.mensa.org/, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21003814 for the image.

Recently Popular

To Top