Announcing: Mensa Foundation Colloquium 2022, Giftedness Across the Lifespan: A More Complete Picture

Open to the public, this single-day symposium will highlight the research, clinical application, and personal impact of the evolving nature of giftedness over time. Join us in person July 5 at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, NV, or via livestream from anywhere worldwide.

The Mensa Foundation has a vision of a society where gifted people are celebrated, nurtured, and supported. Aligned with this vision, this year the Foundation offers a unique Colloquium that explores new and emerging ideas about intelligence and giftedness across the lifespan. The one-day program – offered live and, for the first time, streaming online — opens the door to thinking deeply about the concept of intelligence, taking into account the different contexts, challenges and opportunities throughout life. We are also offering an online forum during the months prior to the event, with discussions, presentations, Q&A sessions with experts, and more.

We are delighted to have contributions by a remarkable group of international experts – all well-known in their fields, each specializing contexts, ages and stages of life. The event is a timely opportunity to consider a more multi-dimensional understanding of intelligence, one that may better address issues and questions that are important to us all now and in the future.

Colloquium 2022 Speakers

Maggie Brown, Ph.D.
Emerging Trends and Interests in the Topic of Gifted Adults
Dr. Maggie Brown is a Psychotherapist and Psychologist with a specific interest in gifted, creative and out-of-the-box adults. A university lecturer and researcher, Dr. Brown is well known as an international speaker, author and clinician with a passion for building knowledge about giftedness across the many contexts of adulthood. Her work draws attention to issues relevant to the study of adults, as distinct from child-oriented gifted studies, a distinction not always clear in gifted-related fields.

As a clinician, Maggie is committed to understanding and removing personal and social barriers to wellbeing throughout the lifespan. Her published research examines the topic from the perspectives of both ‘experts’ and gifted adults themselves. In her presentation, Maggie will draw on clinical examples and research to highlight the value of a ‘fit for purpose’ multi-dimensional and context-specific understanding of intelligence and giftedness, particularly as related to wellbeing across the lifespan.

Ellen D. Fiedler, Ph.D.
The Complex World of Gifted Adults
Dr. Ellen Fiedler, Professor Emerita, Northeastern Illinois University, is well-known as a researcher, educator, presenter and author in gifted education, and is recognized as a leader in work related to gifted adults. Dr. Fiedler wrote Bright Adults: Uniqueness and Belonging Across the Lifespan and chapters on gifted adults in Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child and in Living with Intensity.

Dr. Fiedler will offer insights into the complex world of gifted adults with a particular focus on ages 50 and beyond. Using real-life examples, Dr. Fiedler will describe issues and challenges bright adults face at different ages and stages of life, and how they can weather life’s turbulent times.

David Yun Dai, Ph.D.
Exploring the Evolving Complexity Theory
David Yun Dai, PhD. is Professor of Educational Psychology and Methodology at University at Albany, State University of New York. Dr. Dai is internationally known for his work on gifted education, talent development, and creativity. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award conferred by the National Association for Gifted Children in 2017. He has published 11 books, and over 130 journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopaedic entries.

Dr. Dai will introduce his Evolving Complexity Theory (ECT), an exciting new theory that attempts to capture important elements of individual development – how individuals experience, represent, and construct the world and at once develop their own selves. Implications of ECT for the individual and societal levels of talent development will be discussed.

Rianne van de Ven
Giftedness in the Workplace
Rianne van de Ven has worked as a professional coach for gifted adults for over 15 years. She is an author, speaker, trainer, teacher and researcher on the subject of gifted adults, and was the chair of the Gifted Adults Foundation in The Netherlands from 2013 till 2020. Rianne has expertise in supporting gifted adults in the workplace, and consults to managers, employers and gifted employees.

In her presentation, Rianne will introduce particular aspects of gifted education in the Netherlands, before turning attention to qualities and difficulties related to gifted adults in their work environments. Rianne draws on examples from her extensive work with gifted adults to identify common challenges and to discuss how to create opportunities for satisfaction in the workplace. This presentation promises to be an interesting and engaging examination of an under-researched topic – one that is sure to resonate with many participants.

Tracy L. Cross, Ph.D.
Dr. Cross will emcee our event and provide additional insight
Dr. Tracy L. Cross holds an endowed chair, Jody and Layton Smith Professor of Psychology and Gifted Education, and is Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Education and the Institute for Research on the Suicide of Gifted Students at William & Mary. Previously he served Ball State University as the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Gifted Studies. He is President Emeriti of NAGC.

Dr. Cross has published well over 225 articles, book chapters, and columns; made over 400 presentations at conferences, and has published 14 books. He has edited seven journals, was named Distinguished Scholar Award in 2011 from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and was given six Awards for Excellence in Research. Dr. Cross was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mensa Education and Research Foundation in 2009. In 2019, he was identified as the most productive researcher in gifted education in a 60-year period (1957-2017).

The Colloquium program includes presentations and a panel discussion, with opportunities to engage with, debate and share ideas. The online forum – open to all registrants – opens the conversation early.

Join us for this unique opportunity to engage with ideas and issues that are meaningful to you. For more information about the event and forum and to register, visit or contact Mensa Foundation Philanthropy Director John Thompson at [email protected].