American Mensa’s 2023 Annual Gathering

The American Mensa Annual Gathering was held July 5–9 in Baltimore, Maryland. More than 1,600 members and guests attended from all over the world.
 
The week of Mensan camaraderie began on Tuesday with a colloquium sponsored by the Mensa Foundation on the topic of The Talent and Potential of Neurodiversity.
 
The actual AG officially started on Wednesday and boredom was not an option. In addition to the usual formal meetings and receptions, there were Regional and SIG Meet and Greets, game tournaments, escape rooms, a Murder Mystery dinner, a pub crawl, a competitive afternoon of puzzles and teamwork, and Leadership Development programming (including a brand-new track of presentations called Level Up! that invites industry experts to help Mensans with their personal career development).
 
The speaker track topics included Space, Intelligence Gathering, Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet, How the Musical Hamilton Remixes American History, a demonstration of the Enigma Machine, Scandals and Fraud of the Early Stock Market, the life of an NBA Mascot, a History of Money, Anti-Racism, Game Design, Kidney-trafficking, Poe’s Gothic Fairy Tales, Local History, Higher Education in the US, Tales of a TV Newsman, and many, many others. We benefited from a wealth of local talent from the Baltimore/DC area, including esteemed speakers from NASA, the US Public Health Service, ex-CIA/FBI, the Smithsonian, and top universities.
 
Hospitality is a mainstay at American Mensa events, and the AG included a conveniently located, bustling ballroom serving as a rallying point, a spot to grab some quick snack between speaker sessions, and a convenient catch-up place. Hospitality was open 24 hours and featured four breakfasts, three lunches, snacks during all non-meal times, and a selection of beer and wine.
 
The annual “Misster Mensa” competition was a huge hit, as always. The panel of judges assigned scores to each contestant in several categories, including Sexy Legs, Talent Showcase, and Personal Interview. As a clever twist, judges have been known to accept comical bribes from contestants in exchange for favorable adjudication. All in all, the event raised over $50,000 for the Mensa Foundation in the form of an endowment honoring a beloved Mensan, the late Neil Caesar.
 
The Gala Dinner on Friday featured the hilarious and engaging John Waters (famously known for Pink Flamingos and Hairspray) as the keynote speaker. Everyone enjoyed his irreverence and humor, and no questions were off-limits!
 
Kudos to AG Chair Tabby Vos and her fantastic team of volunteers!
 
The next American Mensa Annual Gathering will be in Kansas City, Missouri July 3-7, 2024.

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