On this episode, I’m delighted to sit down with former Syrian refugee, medical student, entrepreneur, and Peace By Chocolate founder Tareq Hadhad.
In the election of 2015, then a candidate for Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, pledged if his party won the election, his new Liberal government would begin an effort to bring 25,000 Syrians displaced by the war to resettle in Canada.
Among the families selected were the Hadhads.
Tareq had been studying medicine when hostilities broke out in Syria and his father was running a well establish chocolate manufacturing business in Damascus.
After essentially losing everything they owned in ground fighting and airstrikes, the family fled to Lebanon and eventually were selected to come to Canada as part of the Syrian refugee program. They were sponsored by a community group in Antigonish.
Theirs is a success story by almost every measure. In fact, their hard work, investment, crowdfunding project, and community support means has resulted in the construction of a full-scale chocolate factory in Antigonish.
Their story was celebrated by the Prime Minister as an example of success in a speech to the UN Refugee Summit…
There are a great many aspects of the Syrian conflict that might be explored, however, on this occasion I simply wanted to meet with Tareq to get a sense of his family’s experience and the resettlement process in Atlantic Canada.
I met him in the back of the original tiny chocolate making facility on the side of the road next to their modest family home. We sat down on a couple of squeaky chairs for a chat…