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HomeCentenary of the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation

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Published on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 by Lucie Choupaut

Summary

The centenary of the creation of the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation (ICIC) is an opportunity for historians to step back and examine the achievements but also the limitations of this enterprise, its lack of diversity and cultural representativeness. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in this field of research, in parallel with a renewed interest in the League of Nations as a whole, in a context of doubts about the capacity of multilateral institutions. Without attempting to cover all the areas that remain to be studied in relation to intellectual cooperation and soft power diplomacy in the interwar period, such an event therefore seems to be a useful place of exchange at the crossroads between the archives, teaching and research communities.

Announcement

Presentation

On August 1, 1922, on the shores of Lake Geneva, the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation (ICIC) met for the first time in what would later become the “Palais Wilson”. Although this was the first time that these twelve international personalities from the sciences and arts, including Henri Bergson, Kristine Bonnevie, Marie Curie-Sklodowska, Albert Einstein, Gilbert Murray, Jules Destrée and George E. Hale, came together, the idea of creating such a coordinating body for intellectual matters predates the founding of the League of Nations and has its origins in the internationalist movements of the late 19th century. What would later be considered by its actors as an attempt to build a “General Republic of Intelligence” or a “League of the Minds”, was just one element of the vast diplomatic and bureaucratic machine that was set up at the end of the Great War to try to pacify Europe and create a new world order based on multilateral cooperation.

But the idea of intellectual cooperation nonetheless inspired the work of bodies and institutions that operated for nearly 20 years, trying to find their place and define their missions in a rapidly changing context. From a consultative committee, it quickly grew to become a real center of activity with the founding of the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation (IIIC) in Paris in 1926 and other third-party structures like the International Educational Cinematographic Institute (Rome, 1928). Not without generating some tensions with the League of Nations at the turn of the 1930s, this institutionalization led to intellectual cooperation gradually becoming independent from the League’s Secretariat. Although the Second World War interrupted the transformation of the Committee and the Institute into a full-fledged international organisation, UNESCO would resume and expand the activity in this field at the end of the conflict.

The centenary of the creation of the ICIC is an opportunity for historians to step back and examine the achievements but also the limitations of this enterprise, its lack of diversity and cultural representativeness. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in this field of research (see bibliography), in parallel with a renewed interest in the League of Nations as a whole, in a context of doubts about the capacity of multilateral institutions. Without attempting to cover all the areas that remain to be studied in relation to intellectual cooperation and soft power diplomacy in the interwar period, such an event therefore seems to be a useful place of exchange at the crossroads between the archives, teaching and research communities. To do this, the scientific committee invites participants to reflect in particular on the renewal of our methods: whether it is about new approaches or the use of innovative digital tools, the aim of this conference is not only to look at the past but also to inspire future research.

Conference program

All times are in Geneva time (Central European Summer Time, UTC+2)

Thursday May 12 2022

09:00 Welcome session

  • Francesco Pisano and Blandine Blukacz-Louisfert, Welcome
  • Martin Grandjean, Introduction to the conference

09:45 Session 1 Intellectual Cooperation in the Diplomatic Field 

Chair: Ludovic Tournès

  • Charlotte Faucher, European cultural diplomacies and the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation (ICIC)
  • Marilena Papadaki, N. Politis (1872-1942), a “governments’ intellectual’: the promotion of the idea of intellectual cooperation as a basis for world peace
  • Pelle Van Dijk, Mobilising international public opinion: Moral disarmament as the public diplomacy of the League of Nations

10:45 Coffee pause

11:15 Session 2 Foundations of Intellectual Cooperation 

Chair: Daniel Laqua

  • Jonathan Voges, In the engine room of intellectual cooperation. A prosographic approach to the civil servants of the Institut international de coopération intellectuelle in Paris
  • Ilaria Scaglia, A League of Minds with a Heart: Intellectual Cooperation and Emotions in the Interwar Period and Beyond
  • Gabriel Galvez-Behar, Intellectual Cooperation and the Institutionalization of Scientific Research

12:15 Lunch

13:30 Session 3 Central and Eastern Europe, Fertile Ground for Intellectual Cooperation 

Chair: Sandrine Kott

  • Johannes Feichtinger, Central Europe and The Making of Intellectual Cooperation
  • Anastassiya Schacht, Scholar amidst borders: Soviet representative to the League’s committee on intellectual cooperation as a case study for an attempt of cross-ideological cooperation in the interwar Europe
  • Monika Šipelytė, Gabrielle Radziwill: the story of Eastern European princess at the service of Intellectual Cooperation

14:30 Coffee pause

15:00 Session 4 Arts and Culture at the League of Nations 

Chair: Diana Roig Sanz

  • Camila Gatica Mizala, Le film, éducateur universel”. The reception of the International Educational Cinematographic Institute in Chile
  • Annamaria Ducci, The League of Nations and Cultural Heritage. For an intellectual history of a notion
  • Christiane Sibille, « Les relations internationales au point de vue musical » – Music and Intellectual Cooperation

16:00 Pause

16:30 Session 5 Latin American intellectual cooperation

  • Leandro Lacquaniti, La Comisión Argentina de Cooperación Intelectual. Itinerario de la diplomacia cultural del Estado argentino a lo largo de una década (1937-1947)
  • Nelva Mildred Hernandez Sosa and Alexandra Pita Gonzalez, Mexico and the Permanent International Studies Conference. The Sense of the International, 1928-1939

17:10 End of the first day

Friday May 13 2022

09:00 Opening session

  • Martin Grandjean, Welcome
  • UNOG and UNESCO, The archives of intellectual cooperation

09:45 Session 6 Asia and Intellectual Cooperation: a Long-Distance Relationship 

Chair: Harumi Goto-Shibata

  • Arnab Dutta, Towards the Invention of a Common Language of Science: The League of Nations’ Committee for Intellectual Cooperation and the Colonial Question in British India
  • Takashi Saikawa, Nationalism and Internationalism in Intellectual Co-operation: Aikitsu Tanakadate and the Romanization of Japanese Language
  • Jennifer Chang, Beyond Representation: The Bibliothèque Sino-Internationale and the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation, 1933-1939

10:45 Coffee pause

11:15 Session 7 The League of Nations and Educational Issues 

Chair: Corinne Pernet

  • Emeline Brylinski and Rita Hofstetter, Education and childhood, a coveted field. The International Bureau of Education, an intergovernmental body seized in its relational network
  • Kaiyi Li, Teaching about the League of Nations: An attempt of cultivating international consensus during the interwar period
  • Xavier Riondet, How to guide and justify the work of the Intellectual Cooperation on textbooks? About the constitution and the action of the Committee of Experts de 1931

12:15 Lunch

13:30 Session 8 Intellectual Cooperation Facing Political Challenges in Western Europe 

Chair: Sacha Zala

  • Tomás Irish ‘The League Committee of Intellectual Cooperation […] has never attracted much sympathy in Great Britain’: Britain and Intellectual Co-operation in the Interwar Period
  • Benjamin Martin, Fascist Cultural Internationalism? Intellectual Cooperation in Mussolini’s Italy, 1925-1937
  • Jan Stöckmann, Academic Refugees and Intellectual Cooperation at the League of Nations

14:30 Coffee pause

15:00 Session 9 The Central Role of Women in Intellectual Cooperation 

Chair: Tomás Irish

  • Joyce Goodman, Laura Dreyfus-Barney (1897-1974), the International Council of Women and International Intellectual Cooperation at Paris, Geneva, and Rome
  • Diana Roig Sanz, A Global and Gender Perspective to the Historiography of Intellectual Cooperation
  • Itzel Toledo Garcia, Women in International Cooperation during the Interwar Period: the case of Mexican Palma Guillén

16:00 Pause

16:30 Session 10 Literary questions at the League of Nations

Chair: Alexandra Pita Gonzalez

  • Elisabet Carbo-Catalan, Translation activities in the Organization of Intellectual Cooperation
  • Thomas Davies, Three Approaches to Transnational Intellectual Cooperation: The Entente Committee of the Royal Society of Literature, International PEN, and the Co-ordinating Committee of the Major International Associations, 1916-1939

17:10 Closing session

  • Organizers Conclusion

17:30 End of the conference

Places

  • The entrance to the Palais des Nations is from the Pregny gate (nearest bus stop: Appia) - Palais des Nations (United Nations)
    Geneva, Switzerland

Event format

Hybrid event (on site and online)


Date(s)

  • Thursday, May 12, 2022
  • Friday, May 13, 2022

Keywords

  • coopération intellectuelle, intellectual cooperation, Société des Nations, League of Nations

Contact(s)

  • Martin Grandjean
    courriel : martin [dot] grandjean [at] unil [dot] ch

Information source

  • Martin Grandjean
    courriel : martin [dot] grandjean [at] unil [dot] ch

To cite this announcement

« Centenary of the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, https://calenda.org/990789

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