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An Interview with Hasan Zuberi, M.B.A. (Part Two)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/10/09


Hasan Zuberi, M.B.A. is the Chairman for Mensa Pakistan. He discusses: recommendation of the MENA region moving forward in the identification, education, and utilization of the young gifted and talented population; advanced industrial economies for the gifted and talented; gifted and talented programs in the MENA region that would have the greatest long-term impact on the intellectual flourishing of the region; some informal education and practical life skills the gifted and talent should acquire if they wish to pursue a life in entrepreneurship and business; some prominent cases when a known highly gifted person went wrong, e.g. antisocial, violent, and so on; collaboration work with the other Mensa chapters in Indonesia and the UAE; the British, Canadian, and US chapters; hosting visiting Mensans from Germany, Finland, India, Indonesia, Norway, and the Philippines; very rare cases of a 1 in 30,000 kid; the removal of important discoveries, sciences, and philosophies by colonial powers; the most important ethical theories and narratives; revive the influence and culture of Mensa in the MENA region once more; terrorist or extremist activity lure some gifted youth into an unhealthy life trajectory, individually and societally; favourite writers, philosophers, and artists; the wisest person ever met; the smartest people ever met; people donating time, skills, professional networks, or join Mensa Pakistan; more men join Mensa compared to women; the positives and negatives of the perfectionistic tendencies of the gifted and talented; the gifted and talented often left languishing or simply wasted as not only individuals with needs but also potential massive contributors to the flourishing of the nation; bureaucratic downsides to a national and international Mensa leadership; the boundaries and possibilities of national Mensa groups; and alternative IQ tests for societies with very high IQ cut-offs.

Keywords: Hasan Zuberi, Islam, Mensa Pakistan, Muslim, Pakistan.

An Interview with Hasan Zuberi, M.B.A.: Chairman, Mensa Pakistan (Part Two)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: There seems to be a widespread loss of the gifted and talent for the benefit of society and the fulfillment and meaning, in their own lives. How would you recommend the MENA region move forward in the identification, education, and utilization of the young gifted and talented population?

Hasan Zuberi: IMHO, the Academia, Government, and society, in general, has to realize the potential of individual giftedness and work on the various available gifted programs right from the school age. It will help them identify the true potential and direction for kids and on how to carve their intellect into a positive skills-set.

2. Jacobsen: What programs exist in advanced industrial economies for the gifted and talented that could easily be implemented in the MENA region? 

Zuberi: There is a number of programs, Gifted Education is widely used in a number of Western countries as a specialized area. STEM, robotics, and coding are also on the go.

Then we have the Japanese gifted programs introduces in 2005, and above all the Quran based education, that is a mix of subjects from languages, to numerology, to basic astrology and medicine (tib) that has been practised since the Islamic golden age, but removed by colonial powers can also be revived.

3. Jacobsen: What gifted and talented programs would take the longest to establish in the MENA region but would have the greatest long-term impact on the intellectual flourishing of the region?

Zuberi: I think the last one I mentioned above, the Islamic golden era methodology, that mixes the education, religion, with the daily affairs and prepares a child for everyday task. it teaches a student right from personal hygiene to grooming, and from multiple languages to sociology, astrology, numerology, and basic medicine (tib) all derived from the holy scriptures of the Quran.

Interestingly Quran is 40% based on the Old Testament (Book of David, Torah & Zabur) and the new testament (Bible/Injeel), and the remaining 60% is of the present, and future and covers the base of the other subjects. So for a region predominantly Muslim and with Arabic as a primary language, it is something that can improve the society in general.

4. Jacobsen: What are some informal education and practical life skills the gifted and talent should acquire if they wish to pursue a life in entrepreneurship and business?

Zuberi: Languages skills, interpersonal skills, digital knowledge, and above all the personality traits, like honesty, dedication, and hard work. These should be part of the skills taught to every inspiring individual.

5. Jacobsen: What are some prominent cases when a known highly gifted person went wrong, e.g. antisocial, violent, and so on?

Zuberi: In Pakistan, we had a very talented boy. He qualified and joined Mensa Pakistan. He was from a very deprived background and was resident of a slum area, in fact, it is Asia’s biggest slum called Orangi Town in Karachi, and was very bitter towards life.

After he joined Mensa, we the management committee tried our best to make him feel welcome and gave him responsibilities, which he did with pride and brilliantly. He got admission in the most prestigious University.

We helped him secure a scholarship to cover his education cost and, I personally, visited him to show our support at his university and met his teachers and fellow students, in one of my visit to Islamabad as Chairman Pakistan Mensa.

He was on honour roll and won a gold medal in the initial terms, but halfway there, he left the University, after putting up accusations on his faculty dean.

He returned to Karachi, and we hired him, as first paid post holder, but it turned out to be a disaster as soon after he took out his frustration directly on me and wrote to our Vice Chairman and other ManCom members to remove me from office, wrote to Mensa International accusing me of what not.

I had to answer Mensa International on all his false accusations, provided them with valid proofs on each point. After a long, due investigation process, the management committee of Mensa Pakistan found his accusations false and revoked his membership.

He hasn’t stopped there and till now, and often try to influence me through other international Mensa members, the last was Chair of Mensa Cyprus.

6. Jacobsen: How does collaboration work with the other Mensa chapters in Indonesia and the UAE? What have been some of the collaborative projects worked on together?

Zuberi: Well, Mensa Indonesia was long dead, when I visited Jakarta back in 2008, met some of the members and the Chairman, offered my help in reviving it. I wrote to Mensa International there and then and asked for assistance in terms of test booklets.

Mensa Germany came forward and provided support and send us the booklets there which were used for first revival test, on the same trip. Now Mensa Indonesia (MInd) is one of the very active chapters in the Asian region. I feel so proud of my small contribution to its revival.

Likewise, during my work year in UAE, I started contacting Mensa Pakistan and other members residing in the UAE. our first meeting, I still remember, had 12 people from 10 different countries.

After that Mensa UAE was active for a good number of years before slowing down again. Many of the members, like me, left the Emirates and others got busy with their lives.

7. Jacobsen: How have the British, Canadian, and US chapters been helpful in the development of Mensa Pakistan?

Zuberi: Well, the established chapters, British, Canada, and the US have always helped in terms of guidance, knowledge transfer, and above all accommodating visiting Pakistani Mensa members.

Mensa Germany has been always at the forefront in supporting, as in the case of Indonesia mentioned above, as well as in the time of our need, like when our office was flooded and everything destroyed, we got books from Germany.

Then there was a massive earthquake in Pakistan back in 2005 and many International chapters supported us in providing assistance.

Mensa Australia members send us their pocket money as monetary assistance at the time of floods in Pakistan. Likewise, Mensa China and Malaysia were accommodating to our visiting Mensa members and helped in every way possible.

8. Jacobsen: With hosting visiting Mensans from Germany, Finland, India, Indonesia, Norway, and the Philippines, what was involved in that?

Zuberi: Due to a decade of terrorism and violence in and around Pakistan, there were few incidents of foreigners visiting Pakistan; and among them, the Mensans were very small in numbers.

But we had members from many countries visiting Pakistan, primarily for business, and we, as the host Mensa chapter, tried our best to facilitate them wherever applicable. The Philippine mensan was the master chef, who joined a leading 5-star hotel in Karachi. whereas Mensan from Finland was part of a big packaging company.

Our Indian neighbour was there to witness a friendly Cricket match between our countries. We hosted special meetups for them for the exchange of ideas and knowledge and it worked very well every time.

9. Jacobsen: What should be done with the very rare cases of a 1 in 30,000 kid, or even more rare. How should we educate them, the unusually bright?

Zuberi: It is called Gifted or Special. so should be treated like one. The problem is the identification of such gifted talent as in most countries the talents are not identified putting them in more isolation and depressing state. Once identified, certainly should be put up with experts and should be educated in their field of interest.

10. Jacobsen: Regarding the removal of important discoveries, sciences, and philosophies by colonial powers, can you explain in more depth? Those discoveries, sciences, and philosophies with the need for revival and renewal of professional-academic activity.

Zuberi: The colonial powers had to subdue the occupied land and demoralize the occupied people, and the tactics they used was to make them realize that their knowledge, education, discoveries were all worthless.

Hence creating a feeling that whatever the occupiers are doing is good, just, and accepted. From cultural to dressing and from language to inventions, everything was ridiculed and put up as backward.

11. Jacobsen: Within the Islamic context, what remain the most important ethical theories and narratives? How do these apply to the current context?

Zuberi: In Islamic context, the most important ethical theory, as prescribed in the holy scriptures is of Saving and Serving the humanity. even it is written there that Prophet Muhammad was sent for all humanity and not alone for any one religion, tribe, nation, or creed. The killing of one person is termed as the killing of humanity.

But it seems that the message is lost in present-day circumstances and with terrorists glorifying their acts as acts of religion and justifying it from selected verses.

Another interesting fact is that 40% of the Quran is comprised of the Old & New Testaments: Zabur (The book of Prophet Dawood or David) Torah/Taw rat – of Musa/Moses) and Injeel/Bible (of Prophet Isa/Jesus). Whereas 60% remaining covers the time of Prophet Muhammad, and future till the judgement day.

The 60% also covers Shariah (which literally means the Daily routine/life) that covers hygiene (brushing teeth, combing hair, cleanliness) to mannerism (treatment with family, neighbours, merchants, business etc), and from dressing up to dressing down.

12. Jacobsen: What could revive the influence and culture of Mensa in the MENA region once more?

Zuberi: IMHO, localization can help. Be it in language, culture, and national interests. For instance, in GCC countries, in particular, they have some strange rules to secure the interests of the ruling class, and gathering of intellectual brains in one place is termed as something against it.

So if it can be done under some other contexts, like (related to some trade of area of interest) it can work in a much effective and positive way.

13. Jacobsen: How does terrorist or extremist activity lure some gifted youth into an unhealthy life trajectory, individually and societally? What are some protections older generations can create for them?

Zuberi: If I can talk with a brief history and from the perspective of Pakistan, the terrorism was started as a sacred duty and disguised as Jihad (literal meaning: Struggle), against the oppressing Soviet occupying of Afghanistan.

And was sponsored by USA / CIA and other West European countries to stop Soviet expansion to the hot waters / Oil of the Middle East. It helped the mushroom growth of the unregistered holy school, which only used their own version of the Holy text to justify “fighting Atheist Soviets for protection of Monotheism”

The reward for these young kids, willing to fight and sacrifice their lives was: money (approx 200 USD in the early 80s), power (weapons/authority), and religious backing (Islamic context of helping the occupied poor Afghans). Then they were left unattended and uncontrolled with all the weapons, after the fall of Kabul, the departure of Soviets, and the collapse of USSR.

Fast forward, 2001, after 9/11 and the attack on US forces on Afghanistan to counter Al-Qaeda, the narrative changed. Now, the enemy has a new face but the game is still the same, and with many players. From Russia, China, India, and Gulf nations, to neighbouring Iran, Pakistan and Central Asian republics, all are part of it.

So, education is the key. It has started in Pakistan, but still controlled by powers with their interests. The need is to teach humanity from the perspective of the respective religions and sects.

14. Jacobsen: Who are your favourite writers, philosophers, and artists?

Zuberi: Starting from Dr. Muhammad Iqbal (national poet of Pakistan), and the great Persian philosophers Jalal Uddin Rumi, Sheikh Saadi Shirazi, and Khawaja Shams Tabraiz. and in the present day Noam Chomsky.

15. Jacobsen: If you reflect on personal interactions, who seems like the wisest person ever met by you?

Zuberi: Have met many interesting people in my 22 years of journey with Mensa and my professional life. One of the best people was Late Mr. Ardeshir Cowasjee, a leading newspaper columnist and social activist of Pakistan.

Meeting him as Chairman Mensa was a great honour for me. I remember replying to his email was such a huge task, so articulate and well written it was, that it took me a good hour to reply to his email.

16. Jacobsen: Also, in terms of IQ, which is non-trivial as a life factor, who are the smartest people ever met by you?

Zuberi: I have met many, many amazing people. From all walks of life, not enough space for names here.

17. Jacobsen: How can people donate time, skills, professional networks, or join Mensa Pakistan?

Zuberi: People can join Mensa Pakistan after appearing and attaining IQ score in the top 2 percentile in a Mensa supervised test session, or by presenting an IQ equivalence score of 98% or above by a certified, recognized and registered Psychologist.

As it is a volunteer society, members willing to take up responsibilities donate time accordingly.

18. Jacobsen: Why do so many more men join Mensa compared to women? How does this phenomenon impact relationships, dating, marriage, and potential family life for the mensans?

Zuberi: Well, in my opinion, it depends on the choices and interests. Women have their own set of interest and do not really feel to showcase their intellect in front of a group.

Women are more compassionate and dedicated compared to us, the men, and prefer to use their intellect when it is required. In Pakistan, we have a mixed crowd, and almost equal number of qualifiers so the opportunities are also the same for all genders.

19. Jacobsen: What are the positives and negatives of the perfectionistic tendencies of the gifted and talented? 

Zuberi: Positive tendencies are certainly that they keep control over their performances at their pace and as per their satisfaction. Whereas the negativity is that they want to keep everything under control, it affects their performance as team players and/or leader.

20. Jacobsen: How are the gifted and talented often left languishing or simply wasted as not only individuals with needs but also potential massive contributors to the flourishing of the nation?

Zuberi: I think; the biggest problem is of identifying the gifted talent; as if not identified, they have to follow the norms which result in getting bored from the routine lives and effects their own growth, as well as slow the pace of the tasks they are assigned to. But results can be 100% improved if utilized according to their intellect level and interests.

21. Jacobsen: Are there bureaucratic downsides to a national and international Mensa leadership? What are the upsides, comparatively?

Zuberi: Like many organizations, there certainly are. but Mensa is a high IQ society, we tend to find alt-routes, thanks to our amazing Mensans in mancom.

22. Jacobsen: What are the boundaries and possibilities of national Mensa groups? What can and cannot be done? That is, what are the limits for the national groups or representative organizations?

Zuberi: Well, like any organization, we too have cultural, national and territorial boundaries, and apply the law accordingly. Otherwise, all local chapters have their respective constitutions, in line with the core recommendations and duly approved by Mensa International.

For sure, we cannot interfere with any matter that is beyond our limitations and for that, we refer to Mensa International, which has an amazing system and protocols in line.

23. Jacobsen: There are alternative IQ tests for societies with very high IQ cut-offs. Some developed by qualified psychometricians, or at least those with experimental psychology and statistics backgrounds. Others are from intelligent people without these formal qualifications. What is the general perspective of the high-IQ community of these tests? What is the range of quality of them? What is the average of the quality of them? Has Mensa ever accepted them for membership? Have they ever been considered for qualification of membership?

Zuberi: Well, the societies are there, but since their acceptance rate is very limited, so is their membership base. So generally, it is very odd to see someone with qualification from these ultra high IQ societies. So far have not met anyone, in this part of the world, even from our Mensa crowd, interested or inclined towards these societies.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Chairman, Mensa Pakistan.

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 8, 2018:; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019:


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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