Mensa is an international society of people who score at or above the 98th percentile on any of several standardized IQ tests. It provides members with intellectual stimulation and the opportunity to socialize with other bright people locally, regionally, and nationally.
The word "Mensa" means "table" in Latin. The name stands for a round-table society, where race, color, creed, national origin, age, politics, educational or social background are irrelevant. Mensa is a not-for-profit organization that has no opinions, and takes no stands on any political, religious or social issues. While Mensa as an organization has no official opinions, Mensans as individuals have many different opinions. They range in age from 3 to 100, and represent both sexes, all races, various professions, and various beliefs. The only thing that they all have in common is a high IQ.
When the society was founded, it was originally going to be called The High IQ Club, and its monthly journal was going to be called Mens - Latin for "mind." To avoid confusion with the journal Men Only, it was decided that the society would be called Mensa, and the journal would be called the Mensa Magazine.
Mensa was founded in Great Britain in 1946. Today, Mensa International has over 100,000 members in more than 100 countries, and its headquarters is located in London. American Mensa was founded in 1960, and has now grown to over 57,000 members. Its headquarters is located in Arlington, Texas.
Mensa has 3 stated purposes:
- Identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity.
- Encourage research in the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence.
- Provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for members.