John Bitove’s Memory Lives On Through Education of Future Macedonian Leaders

The memory of the late John L. N. Bitove—a champion of Macedonian human rights, who was passionately devoted to the betterment of Macedonians throughout the world—lives on through the annual United Macedonian Diaspora John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Awards (UMD Bitove Scholarship). UMD is pleased to announce the first-round of 2016 recipients: Lisa Evans, Sara Gichevska, Aleksandar Trajkovski from Canada, and John Vidovich from Australia. The second-round will be announced later in the year, as well as the call for applicants for the 2017 UMD Bitove Scholarship.

Since 2010, UMD’s merit-based scholarship program has held the name of John L. N. Bitove—a long-time supporter, activist, and pillar of the Macedonian Community. Over $60,000 have been awarded in scholarships to high-achieving individuals of the Macedonian diaspora who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies in the U.S., Australia, Canada, or Europe.

“UMD congratulates Lisa, Sara, Aleksandar, and John – we are proud of these talented and promising individuals; we wish them the best of luck and we are certain they will make us proud,” said UMD Canada Director Jim Daikos. “We are grateful to the Bitove family and the Bitove Foundation for their investment in our future leaders.”

Vonna Bitove, daughter of the late Mr. Bitove and UMD Advisory Council Member, offered the following advice: “My father had full faith in UMD’s work, and would be proud to see the young leaders supported in his name. Education was essential in my family, and my parents pushed us to excel no matter what. I would like to pass on that advice to students like Lisa, Sara, Aleksandar, and John – you make us proud, keep excelling.”

Lisa Evans was born in Toronto, Canada on June 16th, 1992. She is a fourth-year criminology student at the University of Toronto, pursuing a future career in law. Her Macedonian heritage is well rooted in Aegean Macedonia. Her paternal grandfather, the late James Evans (Dmitri Dmitroff), was born in the village of Besfina, and her grandmother, the late Mary (Kiproff) Evans, hails from the village of Buf. She hopes to visit Macedonia in connection with UMD following commencement. Her father, John Evans Jr, has been very active in the Canadian Macedonian community, while Lisa is fluent in French, reflecting the French-Canadian heritage of her mother, Lyne Tremblay. Also skilled in the performing arts, Lisa graduated from Etobicoke School of the Arts and Randolph School of the Arts. She has performed in musicals and dramas, and was a producer/performer for Black History Month. To supplement her education, Lisa works as a producer and client representative in the experiential marketing industry. She is honored by this scholarship and would like to thank the United Macedonian Diaspora and the Bitove Foundation.

Sara Gichevska was born on October 3rd, 1996 in Skopje, Macedonia. In 2012, Sara decided to invest in her education and pursue her dream. She went abroad, leaving her friends and family in Skopje, to study at Branksome Hall—a private high school in Toronto—for the last two years of her secondary education. She graduated with high honors and received the International Baccalaureate Award for higher-level economics and Spanish. Presently, Sara is a second-year student in the Rotman Commerce program at the University of Toronto. She is passionate about finance and investing, and plans to become an investment banking analyst or an electronic trader—she also plans to pursue an MBA or CFA certification. For over 11 years, Sara has been training karate and has won gold medals in national championships, bronze medals in world and European championships, and seminar certificates. Sara is proud of her Macedonian heritage and believes that her Macedonian roots have had an immense impact on her view of the world. She is delighted to have received this award, as it shows the strength of the Macedonian community and its people.

Aleksandar Trajkovski was born on April 27th, 1991 in Skopje, Macedonia. He is currently in the 3rd year of his MD program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, studying to become an Emergency Physician. He received an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Immunology and Human Biology at the University of Toronto, St. George Campus and graduated on the Dean’s List. During his undergraduate studies, he took Macedonian Language courses with Professor Christina Kramer and lead the revival of the Association of Macedonian Students there. His mother (Evangelia) and father (Viktor) immigrated with him to Toronto, Canada in 1993, and ensured Macedonian culture always played a role in his life, despite being raised in Canada. He grew up speaking both Macedonian and English, ate a hearty diet filled with Macedonian foods, celebrated Orthodox holidays, and has visited Macedonia on numerous occasions. After becoming a physician, he desires to travel to Macedonia to provide medical aid.

John Vidovich was born in Perth, Western Australia. He is currently pursuing a Joint Masters Programme in Southeastern European Studies between the Universities of Belgarde and Graz. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame Australia, where he studied politics and international relations. He was a recent participant in the Office of Multicultural Interests Leadership and Governance Programme in Perth, and has attended a variety of regional conferences regarding the changing modernity of Southeastern Europe. John is immensely conscious and proud of his maternal Macedonian heritage, acting as a committee member of the Macedonian Community of Western Australia. Most of his maternal family lives in the Republic of Macedonia in the town of Kumanovo, though his dearest connection to Macedonia is a family friend, 93 years old, known as Baba Lena from Lerin. She has been a constant figure throughout his life. John was a former finalist in the Western Australian Youth Awards, an honor which foreshadowed his recognition as an outstanding young person by UMD.

UMD is raising funds to support these types of programs that benefit the global Macedonian community. DONATE HERE to UMD’s $10 from 10K Campaign.