Work of wonderfully enthusiastic
people, gathering of beautiful speakers
and some remarkably nice ideas.
at the American School of Kosova
Auditorium // MAP
By Zach Yentzer
Dental student Kushtrim Ahmeti can be described in two words: do-driven. During the week he appears to be like any other member of his class – hard-working, intelligent, determined to succeed. During the weekend, however, he transforms into a grassroots activist focused on re-defining the way we think about health, sustainability, and socio-economic well-being.
Currently living and studying in Turkey, Kushtrim describes his main task as finishing his studies. But he isn’t waiting to graduate and have a diploma in hand before impacting his community. Instead, he and some of his classmates came up with a brilliant idea: traveling dentistry for the economically underprivileged. Gathering together a group of students and teachers, Kushtrim spends his weekends in impoverished parts of Turkey. “During the weekends we prepare our mobile dentistry tables and other resources and travel all over helping those who can’t help themselves.”
For Kushtrim, however, it’s not enough to just do good – it’s also crucial to have the right mindset to affect maximum good. And Kushtrim is passionate about inspiring a shift in the way individuals think about environmental conservation and assisting the lesser able. Often, the two aren’t considered as going together, but he’s shown what the power of sheer will can do when paired with creative solutions. Along with his traveling dentistry, Kushtrim has developed a multi-layered and human-oriented method by which to collect plastic bottle caps and then recycle them into wheelchairs for the benefit of disabled individuals. It has taken not just Turkey but the world by storm, expanding into 44 countries around the globe. More than most, Kushtrim knows about the birth of a universal idea that influences societies worldwide.
So what does this have to do with TEDxPrishtina and Kosova? Everything.
According to Kushtrim, Kosovo is a new country that is having a hard time realizing its potential because it’s headed by people who don’t have the courage to develop a big idea to make change. And, as Kushtrim described it, this lack has created class warfare and a lack of social justice. “I believe the current strategy in Kosovo is heading in the wrong path. Kosovo should be headed by people who have the courage to make change. No one knows the problem like we do. It’s truly sad to see that during these times some people are privileged while others are left on the side. I believe that the situation can be changed when there is a social justice, and where everyone is judged by their work ethics and not by their status.”
Perhaps it’s people with this work ethic who are driven to “do” that inspired him to explore the TEDxPrishtina website and ultimately take part in the event this month. “I came to enjoy the TEDxPrishtina website because it allowed me to read about how other people around the world are creating change for a better place. Whether it’s medicine, technology, or entertainment, it made me proud of those who are creating a wonderful international image for Kosova and her people.”