This article examines the political and cultural contexts of the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation and the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation. These two League of Nations bodies were charged with fostering international understanding through the promotion of educational, scientific, and cultural exchange. Whereas previous studies have revealed the institutional and diplomatic processes that shaped these bodies, the present article considers their intellectual genealogies and trajectories. Adopting a transnational perspective, it argues that the multi-layered quest for order is central to understanding intellectual cooperation in the interwar years. This concern was reflected in the role of cultural relations within the post-war order, and in the aim of strengthening intellectuals’ position in the social order (both through legal instruments and through new tools for ‘intellectual labour’).