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Dina Khayal
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Dina enjoys writing, reading, traveling, and all things Huffington Post. But what really makes her feel alive is her lifelong passion to save the world with a remarkable foundation, The Ian Somerhalder Foundation, as its Community Crew Specialist. Her mission in life is to empower others through her writing and works as a social activist. Be inspired.

Entries by Dina Khayal

'Extinction Soup': An Interview With Documentary Filmmaker Philip Waller & Executive Producer Stefanie Brendl

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 7:08 PM

2014-02-12-StefAndBigTiger.jpg

The ocean is our planet's life support system. Covering 72 percent of the earth and supplying half it's oxygen. It is home to one the greatest diversity of species and ecosystems in the world. Of those species are the ocean's top...

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Fall in Love With a Cause This Valentine's Day

(1) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 10:49 AM

It's almost that time of the year again. The day where you celebrate and cherish the people and things you love. What are your plans for Valentine's Day? When I think of Valentine's Day I picture a beautiful bouquet of red roses with a box of fine dark chocolate, and...

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Don't Date a Girl Who Wants to Change the World, Join Her

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 9:54 AM

I recently came across an article titled "Don't Date a Girl Who Travels" about why it's a bad idea to date a girl who travels. It's gone viral and has been translated into six different languages. So here is my response to that piece, Don't Date a Girl...

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5 Ways Ian Somerhalder Has Taught Me to Live Life

(2) Comments | Posted December 7, 2013 | 7:00 PM

(Photo Credit: Ian Somerhalder)


Ian Somerhalder, activist and Vampire Diaries star, turns 35 today. Somerhalder has inspired many through his works as an activist, optimist, and social good champion. Here are five particularly powerful ways that Somerhalder has taught me to live life:

To look at life a little differently...
One of my personal favorite quotes by Somerhalder is one that goes like this: "When you have these things that you recognize, things that get you, things that upset you, things that push you, things that unlock your potential, your compassion, and your love for things... All of a sudden you look at life through a different window; and it's one that is really whole." So just by looking at life a little differently based off of the things that Somerhalder perfectly described in his quote, discovering your passions in life will literally transform you, both inside and out. It did for me.

To be vulnerable and take charge of that feeling
In a recent interview with Origin Magazine, Somerhalder was asked what makes him vulnerable? His answer was that vulnerability was the whole reason that he started the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. "I felt the most awful feeling of vulnerability and helplessness. I remember where I was standing at the time when I said, I never want to feel this powerless again... But I realized that something wasn't right and I wanted to make it right." Somerhalder has proven that vulnerability is not the best feeling in the world, but to somehow take charge of that feeling, and transform it into something so incredible; that is true power at it's finest.

To live a compassionate life
"We cannot progress as a society, as a people, if we lack compassion." He's right. Somerhalder has shown time after time the many ways compassion has changed and shaped his life, and one of those ways is by harnessing the power of compassion to create progress and ultimately, a richer way to live, through an Animal Sanctuary. Different than many sanctuaries, Somerhalder's foundations' sanctuary will be a safe haven for all the outcast animals that have been neglected, mistreated, and ultimately misunderstood; with the art of compassion, bringing together mistreated animals and bullies into an environment where their hearts can flourish, and hopefully their spirits can soar through their healthy compassionate relationship. So, here's to compassion.

To sing into that microphone
Just to be clear I don't sing... nor do I ever intend on making a profession out of it. What I am referring to is a brilliant quote by Somerhalder at this year's Social Good Summit. Somerhalder said: "If you have a microphone that's plugged into an amplifier, it's wrong of you not to sing." What he means by that is if you have the ideas and passion to create or change something, you should do it. One way to do it is to use platforms, such as social media, your involvement with charity, whatever it may be, to amplify your voice and spread that information to others to ultimately produce quantifiable change. So c'mon let's sing till our lungs give out.

And most importantly, to be a force for good in the world
This year, Somerhalder was awarded a Golden Goody Award (aka Oscar for Social Good) by the Goody Awards at the 2013 Social Good Summit, for being a force for good, through his works as an environmental activist. He has also won Goody Award's Hero Goody- five out of eleven months so far, through his powerful fan base on social media. That's a whole lot of good. Somerhalder has infused the world with good through his work, foundation, and enormous big heart. Let's follow his example.

So, thank you Ian for forever changing my life. Thank you for also setting a good example to the world, through your actions and your amazing foundation. Together we are capable of REALLY great things. Please join me and support this great man today and everyday.

IS Foundation - Ian's 35th Birthday Wish from Deanna markoff on

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Discover Your Passions in Life

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 2:53 PM

The U Factor from Adam Siegel on Vimeo.

When you have these things that you recognize, things that get you, things that upset you, things that push you, things that unlock your potential, your compassion, and your love for things... All of a sudden you look at life through a different window; and it's one that is really whole." -- Ian Somerhalder
Remember that time when you were told that you aren't good enough? Talented enough? Smart enough? Passionate enough? I do. I remember it like it was yesterday. Throughout my childhood I thought of myself as those things. It wasn't until a few years ago -- when I became involved with an organization that forever changed my life -- that I realized that what I lacked in life, was not all those things, but rather, something a bit less complex... I lacked a passionless life. What I discovered was that I have many talents, abilities, goals and smarts, but simply wasn't aware of them because I was misdirected in life... until now.

Why am I saying this? Well, I have an amazing story to share with you. It is one that will provide hope and maybe even inspire you to discover your hidden talents and passions in life.

As you might know from my biography, I am proudly a part of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, co-founded by actor/activist Ian Somerhalder (Lost, The Vampire Diaries), whose mission is to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures. It was designed to teach the importance of protecting the environment and animals, by empowering and supporting the most powerful, yet disregarded, disrespected and overlooked population on the planet -- our youth.

Earlier this month, I was extremely fortunate to be a part of the launch of Ian Somerhalder Foundation youth development program pilot event, U Factor, which took place in Atlanta, GA.

During this program, young children/teens from all parts of the world were given the opportunity and ability to share their passions and talents through various fun experiential activities and discussion that aimed to help them identify their passion, cultivate their talent and amplify their purpose.

Somerhalder believes that "our young people are our most valuable assets -- I believe they have the power to overcome all of the existing challenges in today's world." He's right. They have the power and the ability to change the world.

"You can't have enough passions and interests in life," said Kim Klingler, executive director and co-founder of the IS Foundation. During her moving speech, she discussed what some of her passions and talents in life are, and how it wasn't an easy journey for her to recognize them as a child. Just like the millions of kids who are currently desperate for new opportunities to experience who they are and what they have to give.

The problem with this unfortunately, is with our current educational system, sure they provide excellent opportunities for our children to learn and grow, but desperately lack opportunities for self-exploration of talents and passion. Instead, what we learn in school is that you have to wait until you're older and/or in a career to gain experience in life.

Do you see what's wrong here?

We shouldn't have to wait to truly find ourselves and discover our passions and talents in life. Sometimes waiting, till it's too late -- which for many prevents them from being able to learn who they are and what it is they want to do with their lives.

According to Kim, your job is to figure out who you are and be the person to your absolute best ability. I couldn't agree more.

At the end of the UFactor video, it leaves you with an empowering message that when given the opportunity to discover what they are passionate about, our youth cultivate their talents, amplify their purpose and are transformed into happy, powerful beings who ultimately change our world.

That right there is our future, our now, and the key to a lot of different doors... I truly believe that it's the key to a better life. What do you think? I will leave readers with a simple yet thoughtful message: What are your real raw passions in life? Then go out and make them happen.

To learn more about the IS Foundation and it's U Factor Program visit

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5 Reasons Why You Should Support Ian Somerhalder's Birthday Project

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2013 | 12:22 PM

Activist and Vampire Diaries Star Ian Somerhalder tweeted out an important message earlier this week to his 4.2 million followers. Perhaps, the most important thing he has ever asked anyone to do. What is it? You ask. For people to support his Birthday wish.

As you might already know,...

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The Generation That Gives Back

(0) Comments | Posted July 22, 2013 | 4:17 PM

"The Millennial generation has a set of values, set of ambitions to change the world that maybe no previous generation has had." -Matthew Bishop

I remember hearing this quote for the first time at the GoodXGlobal panel, on the topic of Digital Campaigns, Millennial Activists...

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It Really Is Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 5:13 PM

"It's Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been." --George Eliot


I recently came across an article on the Huffington Post that resonated with me and my experience growing up as a teenager, as well as many others that have gone down this road...

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A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

(0) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 7:09 PM

"The coming together of like-minded individuals through action is what's needed to see wide spread change for us, our planet and its creatures" - Ian Somerhalder

An image surfaced the Internet late last week that left us heartbroken to say the least. Imagine returning home only to find that your...

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This Earth Day, Be a Hero

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 2:44 PM

Happy Earth Day! What a better way to begin an article than with a mini history lesson on how this special day came to be. Let us go back in time and see just how Earth Day all started, shall we. Earth Day began in the 1960's, when a small...

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And the Most Important Generation In History Is...

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 10:55 AM

"We are the New Endangered Species. The Most Crucial Time, The Most Important Generation in History." - Ian Somerhalder, Origin Magazine, 2013.

What is it that makes our generation the most important generation in history? Let us find out what Mr. Somerhalder has to say.

In his most recent...

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The Generation Empowered to Change the World

(2) Comments | Posted January 16, 2013 | 2:45 PM

"... An empowered young person is the coolest thing in the world. And ultimately, that's where change comes in." - Ian Somerhalder

What does it take to change the world? Some might say inspiration, an idea, a global movement, or a vision. I will argue that all is takes is...

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