2017 ACE Awards

The Award Committee has completed the review of all applications received for ACE Awards and we are happy to announce the nominees.

AcademicProfessionalYoung ProfessionalEntrepreneurshipNon-AlbanianCommunityArtistYoung Artist



Edor Kabashi

  • Made a number of discoveries in the field of health research, in particular advancing the state of art of knowledge for neurodegenerative diseases
  • Developed animal models that can accurately mimic the genetic deficiency in ALS
  • Spread awareness about this disease discussing his findings in most of the major Canadian, Albanian, French and international news sources, and has featured in several Television programs

Imir Metushi

  • Currently in his second year of the clinical chemistry fellowship at University of California San Diego (UCSD) – Specialty in the area of toxicology
  • Main focus on therapeutic drug monitoring such as validation of methods for tacrolimus in whole blood and quantification of hormones such as testosterone
  • Additional experience with instrumentation in the clinical chemistry laboratory include hands-on experience in method validation of an automated COBAS immunoassay system



Everest Damsi

  • An Executive Director at Transportation trucking/railroad with unique experience in engineering, operation, customer service and quality
  • Has transformed the concept design of FASTRAK1, creating FASTRAK2 similar name but entirely different product
  • Making it simply best requested existing sliding tarp system in USA and Canada
  • Inventor of numerous patents all successfully implemented in Retractable Tarping systems

Blerina Hoxha

  • Young leader but has a lot of virtues of the wise experienced leaders
  • Continuous learner and a great example of a person that is passionate about improving life and always finding positive attitude even in difficult times.
  • Director of IT at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, one of the most vibrant organizations in Toronto
  • Volunteers in building new schools in Jamaica for 160 students, as well as help with “Food for the Poor” program



Endri Gjiri

  • Senior software engineer, an example of why people should follow their dreams instead of what they are told
  • Graduated in biology but ended up pursuing a career in IT
  • Chief Technology Officer at a well known technology company
  • Name-Reaction.com is aimed at educating chemists on organic reactions in an interactive, dynamic and easy to understand format in order to better visualize the abstract world of chemistry and facilitate learning.

Gerjon Kalaci

  • Accomplished entrepreneur, professional and community activist
  • His volunteer work has been recognized continuously through a variety of awards and honours, however, these recognition have only encouraged Geri to work harder at everything that he does
  • Graduated from the University of Windsor with a combined Law and MBA degree after having previously completed a Bachelor of Sciences.



Jim Beqaj

  • A staple name on Bay Street Toronto
  • An executive for many years in Canada’s top financial institutions in Toronto and New York
  • Decided to open Beqaj International to redirect companies on a successful path for future development
  • Has personally hired over 900 professionals and helped hundreds of companies find and hire the right employees

Ivi Xhelili

  • Started a small carpet cleaning business with his brother and has grown the business to over 50 full time employees
  • The business has expanded not just across Canada but also has recently opened up offices in New York
  • Has shown that the “American Dream” is possible and that hard work and dedication pays off
  • Yet among their huge success they remain humble and are involved in Albanian community



Robert Austin

  • Dedicated part of his professional career to studying, understanding and raising the profile of Albania, Kosovo and the region here in Canada and worldwide
  • Continues to be involved with Albania and Kosovo, political, economic and social matters.

Eliott Behar

  • Long-standing interest in human rights and criminal justice which led him to a career as a Crown prosecutor
  • In 2008, he became a war crimes prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague
  • These cases, which formally came to a close in 2014, exposed a secret campaign to hide terrible crimes by transporting and concealing the bodies of the dead

Marisa Deluca

  • Marisa is one of the Employment Services of COSTI who works every day to help clients achieve their dream job, not just any job.
  • Striving for excellence by fulfilling COSTI’s goal to meet the changing needs of a diverse ethno-cultural community
  • Marisa has supported many Albanians internationally trained, high school and university graduates to get one step closer to their career goals.
  • Impressed by Albanians, Marisa is working with high passion using all her possible connections to ensure Albanians and others were engaged in Canadian life



Ilda Fida

  • An active volunteer from a young age
  • Has contributed her time, energy and skill set to non-profit organizations, individuals and friends in need and always inspired others to follow her lead
  • Represented United Way at community and professional organizational meetings to foster a welcoming climate for their ongoing support
  • Helped raise $1.1 million towards the United Way overall goal

Endrit Mullisi

  • Committed his life to increase the awareness of Albanians to be awaken on the need for spiritual health and spiritual community
  • Continued to teach Bible to every generation believing that has practical implication in the life of the individual, closer family and wider community
  • By starting the first Evangelical Church in Canada, he believes on the need for Albanians in diaspora to be engaged and involved in such communities

Muharrem Xhaferi

  • Kryetar i Shoqates se Bashkuar Shqiptaro Kanadeze (SHBSHK) ne vitet 2003-2005 dhe 2006-2008.
  • Z. Muharrem Xhaferi arriti te organizoje hapjen e 5 shkollave per mesimine gjuhes shqipe ne Toronto
  • Perkushtimi i z. Xhaferi inflyencoi qe ne cdo 28 Nentor, flamuri Shqiptar te valvitet ne Queen’s Park.
  • Ne 23 Shtator 2010 z. Muharrem Xhaferi nderohet me certificaten “With thanks & appreciation from Mother Teresa
  • Catholic School” in appreciation of his support for celebration of Mother Teresa’s 100th Anniversary



Jani Papadhimitri

  • A successful performer of great works, a dedicated violin teacher, an innovative composer, and an explorer in the pedagogical area
  • A member of Sinfonia Toronto String Ensemble and continues his concerts with Trio “Fammus”, in Canada and the United States
  • Has also been performing at the “Academy Series Concerts” as well as teaching at the Kingsway Conservatory of Music and the Columbus Centre, in Toronto

Hytbi Tarelli

  • “Love art, live with art and most and foremost sacrifice for the sake of art.”
  • Hytbi’s passion for art was grew with him, and in 1968 he won the competition to continue the art high school in Tirana.
  • Hutbiu me nje perkushtim te vecante i ka dedikuar talentin e tij artistik krijimit te figurave te vecanta e heroike Shqiptare .
  • Nje nga ikonat e Hytbiut eshte statuja e Mother Theresa duke krijuar dy relieve dhe piktura me vlera kombetare.



Melina Dulluku

  • Albanian-Canadian artist in the Toronto area
  • Has shown tremendous passion and determination in using her leadership and musical gifting to inspire and help make our world a better place
  • Demonstrated strong and successful leadership skills in her workplace as well as in her endeavours of pursuing her dreams as a singer-song writer who seeks to point people to God and inspire them to reach their full potential, for which they were created

Arber Makri

  • Accomplished visual artist with an active painting practice that spans for more than a decade
  • Co-founder of the Artist Studio 201, a Not for Profit initiative that provides studio space to visual artists in Toronto
  • Organized numerous art shows and events
  • His work in community theatre continually strives to understand, address and break down barriers through creative collaboration