x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mensa organisation has the brains but not the time to make group official

Informal Mensa UAE members say a heavy organisational workload has prevented them from pursuing official recognition for the group.

DUBAI // An informal group of the UAE's smartest people is expanding so rapidly that organisers are under pressure to establish an official chapter.

The number of people in the Emirates who have been certified as having a genius-level IQ (intelligence quotient) has nearly doubled in just over a year, and many believe there is a need to establish an official international representation for the Emirates.

However, organisers of the so-far unofficial Mensa UAE said they need to find more people to help coordinate the expanding group.

"It's really stretching our time at present," said Maryam Al Thani, an Emirati who has an IQ of 156, and who helps run social functions for the group.

"We are increasing the number of members and there are new people who want to help organise things," she said.

The group had about 40 members in 2010 but that number increased to 75 recently, after a load of newly arrived expatriates joined.

The number is expected to grow again when the group holds official Mensa IQ tests at the end of this month.

"We are seeing around a 50 per cent pass rate, which means that a lot of people are taking this more seriously," Ms Al Thani said.

Ms Al Thani, an electrical engineer, said the delay in establishing a UAE chapter was not the result of thinking too much.

"Most people think that Mensans don't make decisions quickly, because they over-analyse," she said. "That's not true, it's a personal thing."

She said the delay in setting up a chapter was purely about coping with the additional workload.

Establishing an official Mensa chapter would mean the group could have official representation at international conferences. However, it would also have to seek legal recognition from the Government, find office space and open a bank account.

Mensa requires a minimum of 50 registered members to form a chapter. Each member must have an IQ of at least 140.

She said the group meets about once a month for activities such as bowling and skeet shooting.

"In other countries, they like to do quizzes and to talk about smart things," she said. "They make it more boring than it needs to be. Here, we like to have fun."

mcroucher@thenational.ae