NATION

Media, UNESCO Pioneer Jim Bentley Dies Aged 80

A Fijian who left a lasting legacy in media and communications training, education and development globally has died in Suva aged 80.
06 Nov 2019 10:17
Media, UNESCO Pioneer Jim Bentley Dies Aged 80
The late James (Jim) Bentley with two of his grandchildren.

A Fijian who left a lasting legacy in media and communications training, education and development globally has died in Suva aged 80.

James Edward “Jim” Bentley died peacefully at Colo-i-Suva on Saturday, November 2, 2019.

Mr Bentley, a man of many talents, was also an author and musician. He was a friend of many, at home and around the world.

Daughter Mue Bentley Fisher said her father passed away surrounded by love.

She said: “We are so grateful that his last months were spent living at home with us, hanging out with our children and being looked after the way Dad deserved.

“Thank you Dad for all the love and exposure you gave us Nelsine, Leilani, Ava, Atama together with Mum, setting us up on our life paths so enriched by our experiences and solid home.”

Mr Bentley, a proud Suva Boys Grammar School old boy, went on to build a high-achievement career in media and communications, locally and then globally. He was working at the University of the South Pacific in Suva. Then he was recruited by the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a communications specialist.

From his base in Paris he worked on projects around the world. When UNESCO looked for someone to develop its media and communications activities in the Pacific he was a natural choice. He was based at UNESCO’s hub in Apia, Samoa, as Regional Communication Adviser for the Pacific.

Lisa Williams, a regional media practitioner from the Cook Islands, said Pacific women in the media owed much to Mr Bentley.

She described him as an inspirational mentor and enabler of women’s empowerment and development.

Such was his success in the Pacific he was then posted to head the UNESCO regional office in Kuala Lumpur and was also Regional Communication Adviser in Asia.

Mr Bentley was the author of two books, “Fading Paradise” and “The Amazing Adventures of Tevita”.

The novel about ‘Tevita’ is about the rise to fame of Fiji’s first international crime fighter who later became a member of a special Asia Pacific international peacekeeping force based in Laos.

When the novel was released, Mr Bentley said the story demonstrated what local people could achieve at national, regional and international level. Something he passionately did himself. His home the Pacific Islands were a major beneficiary.

  • The late Mr Bentley’s cremation service is at 11am on Thursday at Dignified Cremations, Nasinu.
  • Mr Bentley is survived by his wife Akata, children Adam, Ava, Nelson, Mue, Leilani and grandchildren Michael, Thomas, Grace, Pearl, Abigail, Iris, Scarlet, Caroline, Raymond and Ava.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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