UMD Tribute to John Bitove — Champion of Macedonian Human Rights

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), with profound sadness, mourns the passing of John L. N. Bitove, C.M., one of the leading modern voices on issues concerning Macedonia and the Macedonian people. Mr. Bitove was a human rights champion of extraordinary courage and vision, and one of UMD’s most generous benefactors. Mr. Bitove passed away peacefully yesterday in Toronto, Canada at the age of 87.

“With the passing of Mr. Bitove, a defining chapter in the Macedonian global community’s history goes with him,” said Metodija A. Koloski, President of UMD, the global Macedonian advocacy organization. “He was a man of steely determination and passion. Mr. Bitove went above and beyond the call of duty as a Macedonian — always one of the first to stand resolutely by our homeland during tumultuous times.”

He added, “this is a great loss for UMD, for the Macedonian people, and for the numerous academic, cultural, economic, and healthcare institutions he supported through his philanthropy.”

UMD presented Mr. Bitove with its first UMD Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. During a memorable on-stage sit-down interview, following the Awards presentation, Mr. Bitove noted the important work of UMD and stated that “there has never been an organization like UMD in the global Macedonian community” and that he was proud to be an inaugural member of the Macedonian Companions. Mr. Bitove used every opportunity to call for Macedonians to work together to build a more prosperous, stable, and united Macedonia.

In honor of Mr. Bitove, and with the generous support of The Bitove Foundation, UMD founded the John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Fund in 2010, which has provided scholarships to over a dozen exceptional students throughout the world and will continue to do so for years to come.

John Bitove’s lifetime of community and public service was always buoyed through his devoted partnership with his beloved wife of 67 years, Dotsa, who survives him. Together, they worked tirelessly in the pursuit of international human rights for Macedonia and Macedonians. They instilled the same drive and passion in their five children, and sixteen grandchildren, who lovingly referred to Mr. Bitove as their “Dedo” – the Macedonian word for grandfather.

UMD and Macedonians throughout the world extend their heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Bitove and the entire Bitove family.

A full statement of Mr. Bitove’s life and accomplishments can be found by clicking HERE and a tribute video of Mr. Bitove’s life by clicking HERE.

Click HERE for Part 1 of Mr. Bitove’s UMD Lifetime Achievement Award interview and HERE for Part 2.

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