Excellent crowd of
young inspiring people.
at the American School of Kosova
Auditorium // MAP
By Zach Yentzer
A wise man once said that there are only two mistakes that can be made on the road towards success - not finishing entirely and not beginning at all. For genetic counselor and TEDxPrishtina speaker Aida Bytyçi, succeeding well means beginning well, and she makes a living by helping families and individuals understand the simple instructions of a body’s beginning design that set it up for success in the future. She calls it the greatest story ever written in four letters: A, C, T, and G - the Human Genome.
As a certified genetic counselor at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, Aida divides her time between providing support and advice to patients and their families on the inheritance and consequences of the genetic disorder, and researching the human genome to identify genes responsible for inherited syndromes and health conditions. Unlike most in her field, however, Aida sees herself at the center of creative innovation where medical science and art come together, stimulating the mind and requiring a developed imagination.
“Why do I do what I do? It is my strong belief that genetics is the new frontier of scientific and social discoveries…discoveries that will also greatly influence other disciplines such as anthropology, forensics, ethics, and politics,” Aida said when we got a chance to ask her about her passion. “I believe that genetics is a science that can demonstrate very well what happens when efficient and adequate planning is lacking. Genes are the set of instructions that develop the human body. When you have a mistake in the instructions or your instructions are incomplete, you will end up with an organ that has not been correctly finished or can have issues in the way it functions.”
So is this what has happened in Kosovo? Like a body with incomplete foundations and follow-through, is Kosovo a newly independent state that has been started but not finished well? According to Aida, comparing a nation-state to the human body is a good, but incomplete analogy. “On the one hand I am aware that there are many social, economic, and political issues in Kosovo today that stem from inadequate planning and inefficient implementation. But I must say that these issues are challenging most countries currently.”
Where Aida says Kosovo and the human body differ is that an independent, thriving country is never really finished, no matter how good the foundations and follow-through are. “I am not sure that any country is ever ‘finished.’ I believe that all countries coexist in an environment that is characterized by a series of dynamic processes that are ever changing, some for better, and some for worse. The only way to positively tackle today’s challenges is to keep an open mind on new ideas and to learn from one another. If we do so, I am sure we will understand that a successful Kosovo will not mirror a ‘finished’ Kosovo but rather a never-ending ‘work in progress’ Kosovo, where we all join our efforts to make it a better place for our children, and where they do the same for their children.”
It’s due to this need for wide-open minds and new, big ideas that Aida is excited to be a speaker in the 2012 edition of TEDx Prishtina. “I am thrilled that Prishtina is offering a well-respected platform such as TEDx. It’s exciting to know that there is such a large audience who is willing to open its mind to new scientific and social horizons, and I hope that by sharing my ideas and experiences as a genetic counselor I will increase awareness and ignite some interest about this field, which I believe is bound to become a major component of our future.”