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Wanted: 50 smarty pants.

Byline: Zoe Christodoulides

THINK YOU'VE got the brains to join an elite group of thinkers? A local chemical engineer is seeking out the island's brain-box population to test their IQ, with the hope of establishing a national Mensa group here on the island.

"Now we are in a start-up phase," explains Christina Angelidou, representative of Mensa International in Cyprus. "In order to be recognised as an emerging National Mensa we need to be over 50 people."

Standing as the oldest and most prestigious international society for people with a high IQ, Mensa is a non-profit and non-governmental body that takes pride in being free from social, racial and religious discrimination.

The group was founded in Oxford in 1946 by Australian barrister Roland Berrill and British scientist and lawyer, Lancelot Ware. The duo came together with the common aim of uniting together people of special intelligence in order to make a significant contribution to problem solving in areas like education, psychology ethics and politics.

With the word 'mensa' meaning 'table' in Latin, the name denotes a round table society race, where religion and social background is irrelevant. Since its foundation the organisation has grown tremendously, initially extending to North America and Europe and now spanning the world.

There are currently more than 110,000 Mensans in 100 countries, while those living in a country without a recognised national group, join the umbrella group of Mensa International.

As things stand, Cyprus has a small group consisting of 35 international members; one of the basic requirements for the development of an individual national group here in Cyprus is an increase of its membership.

All those interested in joining must pass the specific Mensa test administered in Cyprus by Angelidou. The test must then be approved by the International Supervisory Psychologist of Mensa International. Consisting only of symbols and based on logic, it does not require the knowledge of any language or mathematics in particular.

"You don't need to be a high school or university graduate to do well in the test. You can be doing anything in your life and be from anywhere," explains Angelidou.

But what are the people like who are already part of the group here in Cyprus?

"It's not such a diverse circle yet because it's only more educated people that have so far been aware of the test. We do have a couple of younger students in our group and hope that the scope will soon broaden."

The test currently used is valid for persons of the minimum age of 14 with no age ceiling. Once sent to Britain for assessment, entry into Mensa depends on whether the candidate has achieved an IQ score within the highest two per cent of the general population who have until now sat Mensa tests.

Once established as a local Mensa Cyprus, the group will be organising lectures, talks and social meetings.

"It's primarily a social club that gives opportunities for intellectual exchange to its members," says Angelidou. "Sometimes people with a high IQ are lonely because they do not mix well with others. For some Mensa even provides a sense of family."

"Let's not forget it also encourages research into human intelligence and is good for children as it develops self-awareness," adds Angelidou. "I'd say it benefits humanity as a whole to support intelligence; some people say that it's the best resource we have in the world."

n For further information email: Tel: 25-871195/99-943196. Tests cost GBAu15

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Nov 22, 2009
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