Bonnet, Henri

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Bonnet, Henri

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Born in 1888, Henri Bonnet was a French diplomat. A graduate of the École normale supérieure, he became a history teacher, and fought during the First World War. In 1919 he was in charge of the foreign policy section of the French radical daily L’Ère nouvelle. From 1921, he was Joseph Avenol’s chief of staff at the Office of the Assistant Secretary General, Joseph Avenol.

After Julien Luchaire’s resignation in 1930, Bonnet was appointed Director of the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation (IIIC) on 1 January 1931 for a period of seven years. His mandate was renewed for a second term. During his time as director, the IIIC launched the Entretiens series, one of the IIIC’s most visible projects, which gathered public intellectuals for interviews on a variety of topics and published the proceedings. Other projects included international collaboration on the teaching of history, popular arts, radio broadcasting, and libraries. In June 1940, at the instruction of the Quai d’Orsay, Bonnet transferred the IIIC staff to Guérande, then to Bordeaux. He then put Français Ristorcelli in charge of the administration and finances of the IIIC and appointed an interim committee for intellectual affairs, before leaving France to go to London and then to the US.

During the war, he served as vice-president of the ‘France forever’ committee between 1941 and 1943, became Information Commissioner on the Comité Français de Libération Nationale (CFLN), and later, between June 1943 and September 1944, he was Information Minister of the provisional French government (GPRF). In 1942, reflecting on his experiences as Director of the IIIC, he drew up plans for the future United Nations (Harley 1943). In 1944, Bonnet was appointed French Ambassador in Washington. Replaced as director of the IIIC by Jean-Jacques Mayoux in February 1945, he still participated at the London conference in November 1945 which put an end to the activities of the IIIC and saw the rise of the UNESCO system. Bonnet remained Ambassador in Washington until 1954. He died in 1978 in Paris.


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International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation (1925-1946)

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Henri Bonnet was Director of the IIIC.

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International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation. Director (1924-1941/1946)

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Henri Bonnet was Director of the IIIC.

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Created by Jan Stöckmann 10-08-2015.




  • Renoliet, J.-J. (1999). L'UNESCO oubliée. La Société des Nations et la coopération intellectuelle (1919-1946). Paris : Publications de la Sorbonne.
  • Reviewed Work: The United Nations on the Way. Principles and Policies. by Henri Bonnet, Review by: J. Eugene Harley, The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Jan., 1943), pp. 181-182

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