The World Flag

was created to raise awareness and funding for non-profit organizations working in the areas of Education, World Health, Human Rights and the Environment. It serves as a unifying symbol inspiring positive global change while embracing and celebrating cultural diversity.


Created in 1988 by Paul Carroll, the World Flag is a global image meant to resonate with the people of the world. The design of the World Flag has in the center an image of the world surrounded by 216 flags. They include every  national flag, the flag of the United Nations and some flags of territories dependent in one way or other on larger countries. Because of their inherent symbolic, nationalistic, and subconscious power, individual flags offered inherent possibilities for Carroll’s vision. He wrote, “Moving individual flags into the global realm—transcending borders, race, and religions—creates unique impact from micro to macro and back.” He anticipated a quote from the New Scientist, 5 December 2007: “The power of symbols to both inspire and unite people finds it’s most relevant and meaningful perfection in the national flags and banners of the world.”

The distribution of the flags within the design is not random.


  • In the center is the Earth with a white background symbolizing peace and purity while the green represents nature.
  • The white of Japan draws the eye downward creating the image of a flagpole. This then becomes a Flag within the World Flag and also symbolizes a “P” for peace.
  • The fulcrum of Saint Lucia, whose triangle reaches toward the sky, symbolizes the fragile environmental balance of the Earth and its nations.
  • Japan (left) is one of the wealthier nations and Bangladesh one of the poorest.
  • The United Nations in the center symbolizes unity.
  • Just above Earth’s center the three sun signs within the flags of Argentina, Antigua & Barbuda, and Uruguay (left to right) symbolize the rays of light and hope shining into the flag of Tibet above. These four flags collectively represent the life-giving power of the sun both lighting the Earth and shining upward into the flag of Afghanistan, flanked on the left by Lesotho and on the right by Kenya. Within those flags are symbols of hope, peace, and freedom challenging the internal conflict(s) faced by Afghanistan today. The underlying meaning here exists within the tribal history of these nations.
  • Although not encompassing all the world’s religions, the next three flags above, Vatican City, Saudi Arabia, and Israel (left to right), are a symbolic challenge to transcend the politics of religion and find a common spiritual ground.
  • Above these the olive branches of Cyprus symbolize peace and hope.
  • At the top, the tree of Norfolk Island’s roots reach into the white of Cyprus representing peace as the soil from which new life may grow.
  • Above the United States flag is Ireland and below is Italy, representing the designer’s multicultural heritage.
  • To the left of the U.S. is China, symbolizing the opposing tensions of economic and military power in the world.
  • Opposing each other across the Earth, the U.S. and Russia symbolize the challenge of opposing powers whose collective actions can have major impact on the planet as a whole.
  • To the right of Russia is Swaziland, whose blue band represents peace and stability representing Russia’s movement toward freedom and democracy.
  • Below Russia is Barbados, whose trident is used here to symbolize Russia’s emergence from the depths of communism toward a more democratic system of government.
  • Above Russia is Nicaragua, whose blue and white pattern works visually to tie in with the blue and white of Russia.
  • The four corners of the earth are represented by Sweden on the top left, Nepal on the top right, Tuvalu the bottom left, and Malaysia on the bottom right. Each country is in a relative opposite location of the planet from each other.

– Chris

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