Beni Nurtjahja Wahju (10 May 1934 – 21 January 2012)
Beni was a founding member of the Conservancy’s Indonesia Advisory Board and the founding chairman of Yayasan Pusaka Alam Nusantara (YPAN, the Indonesian Natural Heritage Foundation), a local NGO established by TNC in 1995. Under his leadership, YPAN and the Conservancy collaborated on conservation efforts in Lore Lindu and Komodo National Parks. For his generous and valuable contributions, the Conservancy’s Oak Leaf Award was bestowed upon Beni in 1999. George Tahija, a fellow conservation champion and Indonesia Advisory Board member reflected on working with Beni over the past two decades. “His approach was always very calm, cool and logical. Beni was always a pleasure to be with and work with, I will miss him”.
Though his heart always belonged to Indonesia, Beni’s professional career spanned the globe. He trained with the United States Geological Survey, mapping the San Juan Mountains in Colorado from 1963 to 1964. He entered the private sector as a Senior Geologist for Inco – Canada; spent 25 years with PT Inco, where he rose to Vice President and Corporate Secretary; and served as President Director of PT Ingold Management for 17 years. From 2008 to 2010, Beni served as Director of Vale Exploration, a PT Ingold subsidiary, and as its Advisory Commissioner until his passing. Beni also served as an advisor of the Consultative Group (London) for the Socially Sustainable Development Strategy Project. In 1995, he was awarded the coveted Satyalencana Pembangunan, a very prestigious honor bestowed by the President of Indonesia for his leadership in developing the Soroako nickel project.
Beni trained as a geologist at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), the oldest and most prestigious technology-oriented university in Indonesia, graduated in 1961, and join the Department of Geology, where he began his career in the mining industry, later that year. He also taught petrography/petrology at the Academy of Mining and Geology of Padjajaran University in Bandung, West Java.
Beni Wahju is survived by his wife Soffie Wahju, 3 sons, their spouses and three grandchildren.