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Mensa International

Mensa is an organization for people with high IQs (see the organization's website at Mensa International (http://www.mensa.org)). Potential members must score within the top 2% of any of a number of standardized tests.

Background information

Mensa International has over 100,000 members, with over 40,000 in the United States alone. The organization is involved with programs for gifted children, literacy, and scholarships and encourages members' social interaction. The name comes from mensa, the Latin word for "table," and indicates that it is a round-table society of equals. The name was originally planned to be Mens, Latin for "mind", but this was potentially confusing.

Roland Berrill, a barrister, and Dr. Lance Ware, a scientist and lawyer, founded Mensa in England in 1946. They had the idea of forming a society for bright people, the only qualification for membership of which was a high IQ. The original aims were, as they are today, to create a non-political society free from all racial or religious distinctions. The society welcomes people from every walk of life whose IQs meet the criteria, with the objective of members' enjoying each other's company and participating in a wide range of social and cultural activities.

What are Mensa's goals?

Mensa has three stated purposes: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research in the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members.

Mensa has published a number of books, including Poetry Mensa (in 1966), an anthology of poems by Mensans all over the world, and not all of them in English.

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