UMD Announces 2010 Bitove Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Recipients

April 11, 2011 – Toronto, Canada – On Sunday, April 10, 2011, the United Macedonian Diaspora (“UMD”) presented to three aspiring young Canadian-Macedonians with their 2010 John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Awards (“Bitove Scholarship”). The Awards, in the amount of $2,000 each, were presented to Alexandra Close, Alexander Karapancev, and Biljana Markovska during a ceremony at St. Clement of Ohrid Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral in Toronto, Canada before family members, friends and supporters of UMD.

Left to right:
Tom Bitove, Alexander Karapancev, Biljana Markovska, Alexandra Close, and Vonna Bitove

The UMD John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship, named after prominent businessman and pillar of the global Macedonian community John L. N. Bitove, C.M. was established in 2010 to assist Macedonians pursuing undergraduate degrees in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States.  The purpose of the UMD John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship is to advance the education of young Macedonians who are guided by the values of their Macedonian upbringing and heritage.  The Bitove Foundation awarded UMD $50,000.00 in June 2010 towards this Scholarship Program, and the funds will be distributed over the course of the next few years. 

“The Bitove Foundation is very excited to partner with UMD and be part of this inaugural celebration and scholarship presentation.  These worthy students exemplify part of the mandate of the Bitove Foundation to encourage the pursuit of our Macedonian cultural roots.  The Bitove family immigrated to Canada almost 100 years ago and we hope to encourage many more generations to take pride in Macedonia,” said Ms. Vonna Bitove, daughter of Mr. John L. N. Bitove, C.M. following the presentation of the Awards.  Ms. Bitove, together with her brothers Mr. Thomas J. Bitove, O. Ont and Nick Bitove represented the Bitove family at the ceremony.

UMD Voice Editor Mark Branov emceed the event and welcomed the new Consul General of Macedonia to Toronto Mr. Dragan Gjurcevski who congratulated the scholarship recipients.  UMD is grateful that Consul General Gjurcevski was able to attend.

“I congratulate Alexandra, Alexandar, and Biljana and their families for raising such aspiring young Canadian-Macedonians,” said UMD Director of Canadian Operations Jim Daikos. “May their future be as bright as a shining star.”

2010 John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Recipients:

Alexandra Close

Born and raised in Canada, Alexandra Close is very proud of her ethnic Macedonian roots. Alex, as she likes to be called, is the daughter of Michael Close, the internationally known artist, designer and actor and of Menka Close, an art historian, archaeologist, curator and educator.  Alex was denoted as a gifted student early on and has been focused on creative work since she could hold a pencil.  A recipient of numerous academic awards, she has also won many international awards for her art work from such places as Russia, China, Portugal, Macedonia, Slovenia, Turkey and Greece.  Currently, completing a Gifted Student and Visual Arts Program at O’Neill C.V.I. in Oshawa, Canada, Alex has been already accepted to York University and Ryerson, and is awaiting acceptance from Parsons Design School in NYC.  She plans to major in Fine Arts/Fashion Design.

Alexander Karapancev

Born in Toronto, Alexander Karapancev is a young Canadian-Macedonian proud of his ethnic roots.  Currently, in his second year studying Political Science at the University of Western Ontario, Alexander is a member of the Pre-Law Society and has aspirations to continue his studies in Law School upon finishing his undergraduate degree.  At Western, Alexander is a member of various clubs and associations including the: UWO Conservatives, the Campus Coalition for Democracy and is a proud member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity.  Outside of university Alexander is a member of the Fraser Institute – Research Circle and the Canadian International Council (Canadian equivalent to the Council on Foreign Relations).  Alexander is quite involved in the Macedonian community, and recently founded a Macedonian Club at his University.  He spoke at UMD’s 2nd Global Conference in June 2010 regarding youth activism. 

Biljana Markovska

Born and raised in Canada, Biljana Markovska is proud of her Macedonian heritage, and is honoured to uphold and share with other Canadians her heritage and rich Macedonian culture.  Biljana is in her second year at York University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Health Science.  She is a provincial Gymnast and an artistic Gymnastics Coach and has won 1st place champion in the 25th Invitational Gymnastics of Ontario in 2005.  Biljana is an English and Math tutor and was a member of her high school track and field team and football team.  She has been a gold award winner for best choreography on floor from 2005 to 2008 with Gymnastics Ontario.   Being proud of her Macedonian heritage, Biljana has been a dancer with her community folklore group since 1995, and also a competitive gymnast with the Canadian-Macedonian Olympic Club.  In 2008, she volunteered in the constituent office of Lui Temelkovski, the first Macedonian to ever be elected to Canadian Parliament and the first outside of Macedonia.  In 2009, Biljana won the Miss United Macedonians competition.

“UMD congratulates Alexandra, Alexander, and Biljana for their academic achievements and we hope they will continue to make our community proud,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “UMD thanks Mr. Bitove, and the Bitove family for their strong support of UMD and the future generations of the global Macedonian community.”

United Macedonian Diaspora is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization in the United States.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation via our secure online portal, by clicking HERE.  A receipt will follow in the mail.

United Macedonian Diaspora (Canada) is a Canadian Registered Charity (BN: 824548564RR0001).  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation towards UMD (Canada)’s important work via our new secure Canadian charity online portal, by clicking HERE.  A receipt will follow in the mail.

Photographs courtesy of Robert Stamenov:

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