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Mensa was founded in 1946, in England. The Mensa Society was formed specifically for intelligent individuals. The aim of Mensa was to create a non-political society free from all forms of racial or religious distinctions, that focussed on exceptional intelligence. All are welcomed into Mensa regardless of background, religion, socioeconomic condition, race, or age.

In fact, on February 14, 2005 the Mensa confirmed that a three-year-old boy had become the youngest current member of Mensa. Toddler Mikhail Ali of Bramley, Leeds in the UK has an IQ of 137 a level of intelligence which puts him in the top 2% of the population for his age. A mensa spokeswoman confirmed Mikhail was its current youngest member and said the organization only has 30 members under the age of 10. Mikhail was three years and six weeks old when he joined Mensa. The organization's youngest member ever was two years and 10 months old when he joined in the mid 1990's. These records are a meaningful only from a public-relations standpoint however, since IQ changes very little with age. That is, people who are smart in adulthood were just as smart as children and vice versa, regardless of whether or not they join Mensa.

The name Mensa comes from the Latin word for table and indicates a group of equals sharing ideas, like a roundtable discussion.

Mensa's stated purpose is to identify and encourage human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to foster research in nature, characteristic and uses of intelligence; and to promote stimulating social and intellectual opportunities for society members.

Famous mensa currently include Isaac Asimov, and Gena Davis. Mensa sets a measured intelligence level in the upper two percent of the population. This is its only requirement for membership. Statistically, about six million people in the United States alone qualify for Mensa, of whom 50,000 have actually joined. Worldwide, about 120 million people qualify for mensa of whom 100,000 have joined.

Francesca Black works in marketing at the Puzzle Place and Chess Strategies leading puzzle and strategy portals.