November 2, 2010 – Ottawa, Canada – Today, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) met with The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The meeting was to discuss Canada-Macedonia bilateral relations and Macedonia’s aspirations to join NATO. UMD bestowed upon Prime Minister Harper its highest honour, the Goce Delchev Award, for his bold and honourable leadership in international affairs, and his recognition of Macedonia by her constitutional name, solidifying the excellent relationship between Canada and Macedonia. Prime Minister Harper is the first recipient of the Goce Delchev Award.
“The Macedonian community worldwide could not have asked for a better friend and advocate than Prime Minister Harper. We were extremely honoured to have the opportunity to meet with him and discuss Canadian-Macedonian relations,” stated UMD President Metodija A. Koloski, who led the delegation of Canadian-Macedonian business and community leaders. “Goce Delchev and our forefathers, who were true visionaries of their time, fought for an independent and free Macedonia. They would be pleased to see such distinguished leaders in the international community, friends of Macedonia and the Macedonian people.”
Canada is home to close to a quarter of a million Canadians of Macedonian descent, with early immigration to Canada starting well over a century ago. Having enriched Canada’s mosaic with their hard work and cultural legacy, Canadian-Macedonians today are leaders in the fields of arts, business, community affairs, entertainment, television, fashion, film, political life, and sports. Today’s Canadian-Macedonians are ambassadors for their community and continue to build the bridge between their new and old homelands.
“I am privileged to have been invited by UMD to participate in this historic milestone for the Canadian-Macedonian community,” stated Canadian Macedonian Place President Marilyn Trentos. “Prime Minister Harper has been a great friend to our community, to Macedonia and it is an honour to have met him and share this experience with my colleagues.”
The Goce Delchev Award is UMD’s highest honour and the recipient of this award is selected based on the impact that they have had on Macedonians around the world, their record of public service, and their advancement of justice, peace, democracy, personal freedom and economic opportunity. The Goce Delchev Award is named after the famous 19th century Macedonian leader Goce Delchev, who fought for Macedonian independence from the Ottoman Empire. Delchev held views that are epitomized by his well-known quote, “I understand the world solely as a field for cultural competition among the peoples”. The UMD Board of Directors unanimously selected Prime Minister Harper as the first recipient of this award, for his impact on Macedonia and Macedonians globally.
Members of the delegation included: Vonna Bitove, Executive Director/Owner, Wayne Gretzky’s Restaurant & Executive Director, The Bitove Foundation; Mark Branov, Editor, UMD Voice Magazine; Jim Daikos, UMD Board Member/Director of United Macedonian Diaspora (Canada) & General Manager, Wimpy’s Diners; Metodija A. Koloski, President of United Macedonian Diaspora; George Koroloff, Partner, Koroloff & Huckins; George Markou, UMD Advisory Council; Founder & Honorary Chair, Unigistix Inc; Elizabeth Naumovski, Member, UMD Advisory Council, Vice President of Marketing at Caldwell Securities Ltd., Board Member, Macedonian Film Festival; Goran Saveski, UMD Board Member & Liaison Officer for United Macedonian Diaspora (Canada), Director of Operations, Delo Logic; Chris Stanwyck, Co-Owner, Triple “A” Cheese Co. Ltd.; and Marilyn Trentos, President, Canadian Macedonian Place; Vice President & Investment Advisor, RBC Dominion Securities.
Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora is a leading international non-governmental organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.
Photo Caption: United Macedonian Diaspora meets with The Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper and presents him first Goce Delchev Award.
Pictured front row left to right: Marilyn Trentos, Vonna Bitove, and Elizabeth Naumovski
Pictured back row left to right: Goran Saveski, Jim Daikos, Metodija A. Koloski, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, George Koroloff, Mark Branov, Chris Stanwyck, and George Markou
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