Annual Colloquiums provide venues to satisfy our craving for perpetual education

  • Apr 1, 2012
  • Colloquium
  • Greg Timmers

On July 3, the Mensa Foundation sponsors the 15th Colloquium since 1982. Education (and research) appear in the legal name and are noted objectives of the articles of incorporation supporting the tax exemption for the Mensa Education & Research Foundation. The stated purpose of the first Colloquium was “to offer a forum for any interested Mensan to explore, debate, evaluate and offer judgment on a major issue of long-range importance to society.”

Colloquiums return participants to an academic environment that simply can’t be replicated by online learning experiences. The events usually draw from 100 to 200 participants. Advanced reading selections are suggested by the speakers, allowing participants to have more than a casual knowledge of the topics. Speakers are usually aware of the professional work of each other but often have not interacted on panel discussions, frequently leading to interesting exchanges. The attendance size allows for intimate discussions between speakers and participants during and following the events.

Selection of Colloquium topics

Typically, a member’s passion results in submission of a formal proposal for consideration by the Foundation Trustees. The member is responsible for identifying the learning objectives for the event and offering suggestions for speakers. The Mensa Foundation administration assists in securing the speakers and handling all aspects of contracting for the program. American Mensa's members and Local Groups have no financial exposure for Colloquiums.

Financing Colloquium programs

The Mensa Foundation typically provides $5,000 to $10,000 for speaker-related expenses, allowing participant registration fees to be kept low. The venue for the 15th Colloquium is a bit different, taking place immediately before the Annual Gathering. Eliminating transportation expenses for AG attendees is intended to allow greater opportunities to experience the Colloquium.

Participant comment from previous Colloquium

“[I enjoyed] the general atmosphere of being around experts in a particular field, the feeling that they really knew what they were talking about, and the fact that most of the Mensa participants asked civil and intelligent questions.”

Colloquiums are open to both Mensa members and non-members seeking new perspectives from industry experts. The events draw participants from two audiences:

  • Individuals requiring knowledge to enhance their professional expertise (vertical knowledge), and
  • Individuals seeking to expand their knowledge horizontally.

The Social and Video Games Colloquium takes place in Reno, Nev., on July 3. Go to for program information.

Colloquium is available because of the generosity of your donations. Please consider donating to the Mensa Foundation.