Mensa was founded in England in 1946 by Roland Berrill, a barrister, and Dr. Lance Ware, a scientist and lawyer. 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 society that is non-political and free from all racial or religious distinctions. The society welcomes people from every walk of life whose IQ is in the top 2% of the population, with the objective of enjoying each other's company and participating in a wide range of social and cultural activities.
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.
The word Mensa is Latin for table and indicates that Mensa is a 'round table' society in which no individual has preference.
Mensa has no racial, political, ideological or religious affiliation but promotes the concept of free thinking and free speech amongst its members. Therefore Mensa does not in itself have a view on most topics, but reflects a wide variety of different views. The general principle is that if even one member out of 100,000 holds an opposing view on something, the opinion of the rest cannot be said to represent Mensa's view. It is held that each member is intelligent enough to make his or her own judgment on controversial topics.
The only common binding thread is that all members must have attained a score within the upper 2% of the general population on an approved test, as determined and administered by Mensa psychologists. There is no other basis for membership, whoever you are, whatever you do.
Currently there are over 100,000 members in over 100 countries around the world. The largest concentrations are in the UK and USA, but in recent years new groups have been set up in many parts of Asia and other countries.
Mensa Hong Kong
Mensa Hong Kong was formed in 1987 by a small group of expatriates and local Chinese who had gained Mensa membership while living overseas. Since then, membership has steadily increased to more than 500 nowadays.
Many of the original expat members have returned to their home countries and now more than two-thirds of all members are locals. In HK Mensa the membership embraces a wide variety of interests and professions including doctors, dentists, architects, lawyers and executives from the IT, import/export trading and media sectors. The youngest member is 14 and the oldest in the 70s.
Activities are varied with an accent on the social side and a lot of what we do is the same as other people in Hong Kong do - dinners, BBQs, hiking, junk trips and even karaoke evenings! But at a typical Mensa event, you can always guarantee to meet new and interesting people. We also organize talks, games evenings, presentations and debates on topical issues whenever the opportunity arises. If you are new to Hong Kong, it is a great way to meet new friends.