What is Mensa?

Mensa Internationalmensa_Int_logo is a high IQ society providing a forum for intellectual exchange among roughly 110,000 members from more than 100 countries. Founded in Oxford, England on October 1, 1946, Mensa today is represented by national organizations in 40 countries on every continent except Antarctica.

“Mensa” is Latin for “table.” Mensa is sometimes described as a “round table” society for the highly intelligent that makes no distinction as to race, color, creed, national origin, age, sex, economic, educational or social status.

For more information about Mensa International, visit their website at http://www.mensa.org/.

What is American Mensa Limited?

Unshielded_LogoAmerican Mensa Limited (AML) is the national organization representing Mensa International in the United States. The early members were mostly expatriated Britons or Americans who had learned about Mensa while visiting England.

In 1960, a Brooklyn member was authorized to start forming a New York City regional group. A column in The Village Voice led to the founding meeting on September 30, 1960, and this group became the first outside Britain to be recognized.

The organization grew to 1,000 members by 1963, and to approximately 47,000 members by its 40th anniversary. That regional group evolved into AML, and its headquarters moved from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Arlington, Texas.

For more information about AML, visit their website at http://www.us.mensa.org/.

What is the purpose of Mensa?

Mensa International has three specific purposes stated in their Constitution:

  • 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.

The Mensa Education and Research Foundation (MERF) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. MERF addresses the first two of those three purposes, by both managing and funding annual scholarship programs, and by funding relevant research. According to the Consolodated Financial Statements, MERF draws its support from American Mensa Limited, Mensa International, Ltd., the members of Mensa, and the public. AML has both legal control and an economic interest in MERF.

For more information about MERF, visit their website at http://www.mensafoundation.org/.

American Mensa Limited (AML) supports the first two purposes of International Mensa by supporting MERF, but is also a registered 501(c)(4) not-for-profit social organization, and directly addresses the third purpose. AML supports member interaction through a members-only online forum, through social media such as Facebook, and by organizing a face-to-face Annual Gathering for a couple of thousand members. AML also supports over a hundred Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to allow those with similar interests to make contact.

Finally, by granting charters to local groups such as Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa, AML creates a local presence leading to local social activities open to any Mensa member.