The design used as the Experiment logo is one of the oldest symbols in the world. Described as a figure of interlaced loops, it has been found decorating monuments at least 5,000 years old, in India, Iraq and Iran. In different ages, this monogram was believed to symbolize the unbroken flow of the elements, life, family, generations, and cultures. The Experiment in International Living adopted it as its logo in 1951 to represent the unity of humankind — moving, meeting, passing, and returning again to the central intersections where people and cultures share deep human values interlaced through a common humanity and continually confronted by the need to understand one another.
Experiment founder, Donald Watt, discovered this symbol on an artifact in an antique shop on a journey to Vienna, Austria. This symbol appeared in Egypt in the first decade of the Christian era, and from the 4th to the 10th centuries in Ireland, France, Scandinavia and northern Italy. By the fourteenth century, it was found carved in marble by the Turks. It also appeared on the Japanese ten-yen note and on Finnish coinage. Today it is a common decorative theme found on clothing in countries in Africa and elsewhere.
The double nature of the logo reflects a spirit of cooperation. The unbroken loops have served as good luck charms; as symbols of infinity; and as we believe: the people of the world living together in harmony. As one of the oldest exchange organizations worldwide, the meaning behind the interlaced loops beautifully represents both our work and our wish for the world.
(Adapted in part from: About Our Institution: Federation EIL – Collective Histories – edited by Alvino Fantini.)