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Maybe a microbadge could serve this purpose?
I doubt that very many people would purchase a microbadge, certainly not enough to make the information visually relevant in a scan of profiles in the forums. Plus there would not be any consistency in where it might be displayed. The nice thing about the country flag is that it is uniformly displayed for all members that have entered their country.
Not trying to be a nay-sayer, just that a microbadge apporach would not accomplish what I originally had in mind. Thanks for your suggestion though.