A new Chairman for "the most intelligent society” in the world
Björn Liljeqvist was elected to develop MENSA and give the well-known “high IQ society” a vision until 2030
Mensa, the “high IQ society”, will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year. The society, which currently has 140,000 Mensans in 100 countries throughout the world, exclusively welcomes people whose IQ is in the top 2% of the population. It has elected one of its Swedish members, Björn Liljeqvist, to provide the society with a new frame for its development.
The world's most intelligent association, Mensa International, now has a Swedish chairman for the first time, with Mr Björn Liljeqvist, from Stockholm. Following an internal nomination and voting process, Björn Liljeqvist was elected president of Mensa International. He takes over from Bibiána Balanyi (Hungary). He took office at the end of 2019 and is currently completing his development plan for the years to come.
"It is a real responsibility to lead a large and brilliant team which will further develop the association. There are still countries with no Mensa association. We are about 140,000 members worldwide, but we should be at least a million”, says Björn Liljeqvist.
Björn Liljeqvist joined Mensa Sweden in 1991 when he was fifteen. Back then, he was the youngest of the 200 members. At that time, he participated in the creation of BUMS ("Children and young people in Mensa in Sweden”), a youth service very active during these years.
“It all started one day when we had a substitute teacher in the arts class, at school. I had the most exciting conversation of my life. It was conducted at a completely different pace and with greater depth than anything I was used to. I like to call this “Intellectual Resonance.” In acoustics or music, resonance is when you get feedback at the same rhythm that you’re producing your own sounds. So, intellectually, it means that you don’t have to stop and explain things. You don’t have to wait for someone to get the punchline or to get the point. This teacher turned out to be Jola Sigmond, then president of Mensa Sweden for a few years in the 90s. He was a media profile who often appeared in various television programs under the epithet "The most intelligent man in Sweden”. Jola became a kind of mentor and convinced me that I should join Mensa”, explains Björn Liljeqvist.
Since then, Björn has held several different positions at local and national level, including test manager and Swedish president from 2007 to 2011. Björn also met his wife Camilla through Mensa. They now have a daughter together, Hildegard.
“I have a long list of things to do. I will give life to Mensa's original goal, as formulated from 1946: identify and promote human intelligence. Mensa Sweden is the country with the most members per capita in the world and I intend to use this experience to open new horizons for Mensa International”, says Björn Liljeqvist. “Basically, it is trying to raise general awareness of giftedness in a as matter-of-factly way possible”.
Björn's vision with Mensa International is to make the voice of the association heard in general. “One of the good things about Mensa and Mensa membership is that you very quickly lose all biaises you have about intelligence”, says Björn Liljeqvist.
Mensa is apolitical but always represents something: everyone has the right to use their intelligence to the full, for the good of humanity. In practice, this can be something as simple as encouraging children with special interests so that they can develop their talent. For Björn Liljeqvist, “education is almost like a human right, for every person, every child, to foster or to excel, to explore things that they are interested in, in society. There are people who have the intelligence and cannot nurture it simply because they are born under wrong circumstances. That is fundamentally unfair”.
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International Communications Officer, Mensa International
Mensa (the word means “table” in Latin) is an inspiring round-table society, where race, colour, creed, national origin, age, politics, educational or social background are irrelevant. Mensa has over 140,000 members in various national organizations in more than 100 countries on every continent except Antarctica. Mensa has three stated purposes: (1) to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; (2) to encourage research in the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence; (3) and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members.
Membership in Mensa is open to persons who have attained a score within the upper two percent of the general population on an approved intelligence test that has been properly administered and supervised.