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TESTIMONIALS

“The Cape Breton Partnership was incredibly honoured to have Tareq Hadhad as the keynote speaker for our annual Investor Summit. Tareq captured the audience’s attention from the moment he stepped on stage and told his family’s story with such honest conviction that it was truly powerful and refreshing. By sharing his experience of coming to Nova Scotia, we were able to learn the importance and true value of building welcoming communities for newcomers. Tareq’s leadership and commitment to giving back to the people that welcomed him and his family is apparent in all of his work and passion for entrepreneurship. The Partnership hopes to engage with Tareq again soon and looks forward to working with him to advance immigration initiatives in Nova Scotia.”   

- KEITH MACDONALD, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE CAPE BRETON PARTNERSHIP


“Tareq is the talk of the town! He was EXCEPTIONAL!!! Honestly he was even better today, than when I heard him speak in June at the Waterfront campus and I thought he was awesome then too!!! He is really honing in on his craft.

 I greatly appreciate the work and excellent communication from Vox for making this happen. I truly hope our paths will cross again very soon!!! Blessings to you, Stephanie and Tareq. You are doing incredible and valuable work in getting Tareq’s message across the province, the country and globally. He is a true inspiration!”

-DEANNA MOHAMED - NSCC PICTOU STELLARTON


"Tareq is a charismatic presenter who takes the audience through harrowing tale of survival from war-torn Syria to the outpost of Nova Scotia in Antigonish with humility, humour, and inspiration. He is the reason and the shining example of immigration going right on the East Coast of Canada!"

—MATT SYMES - SYMPLICITY DESIGNS


"Great to hear how someone can exceed if they put their mind to it. Tareq was the best I have experienced so far at NSCC. Very inspirational story that we can all learn from."

—NSCC - STUDENT REVIEW


"We wish to express our most sincere gratitude for your participation at our annual SEB conference in Ottawa.

The conference was a tremendous success, not least because of your participation, and the topics and questions covered will assist in furthering the relationship between our two regions. Again, thank you for your time and effort."

— MARCUS WALLENBERG & JOHN TORGEBY - SKANDINAVISKA ENSKILDA BANKEN


"It was such a pleasure to have Tareq present as the keynote speaker at our 20th Anniversary Conference. Tareq's personal story and message was both inspirational and moving. His authentic perspective, and ability to connect with the audience, made for a great addition to our conference."

— CARISSA CAMPBELL
NOVA SCOTIA INTERTANTIONAL STUDENT PROGRAM

 

Thank you kindly for making the long trip down to Yarmouth to help
inspire library personnel and boards and to compel them to embrace
change. Your story of trials, tribulations and triumph certainly
captured our attention! Your message of openness and your belief in
goodness and the power of positive change was equally motivating and
thought provoking. We are grateful for having heard your story.
— ERIN COMEAU DIRECTOR, WESTERN COUNTIES REGIONAL LIBRAR 2018 NSLA/LBANS CONFERENCE
The Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative engaged Tareq to speak about his experiences settling in Canada at several events in the UK focused on community sponsorship of refugees. He was a warm and engaging speaker, and his willingness to share his stories and reflections on sponsorship deeply inspired key civil society, private sector and state actors. He truly represents the very best of Canada and I was amongst those deeply touched his leadership, commitment, enthusiasm and compassion, and so very proud of what he brings to our country. It was an honour to work with Tareq!
— PROFESSOR JENNIFER BOND, CHAIR, GLOBAL REFUGEE SPONSORSHIP INITIATIVE
We were thrilled to host Tareq at the National Board Meeting of CISV Canada. By all accounts this was one the best meeting we have had (and some of our members have been to over 15 annual national meetings!) and it was in no small part to Tareq’s inspiring talk. All ages were impacted by it, and motivated to continue to work for peace education and cross cultural communication. We stand with immigrants!!
— MARY RAE SHANTZ, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION REPRESENTATIVE
Thank you so very much again for coordinating this for our students. There was such amazing feedback to Tareq’s story this morning:

”Truly inspiring”
”Great message”
”Amazing opportunity for our school”
— AMANDA MARCHAND, SCHOOL COUNSELLOR - EAST ANTIGONISH EDUCATION CENTRE / ACADEMY
On behalf of the Toronto Board of Directors of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, we would like to express our most heartfelt appreciation to you for being one of our generous presenters during the conference held earlier in November 2018. Your participation made the Parliament more significant for us and for the over 8000 attendees.

You added to the rich tapestry of knowledge for people from over 80 countries. The lessons learned were vast, intellectually rich, and surely uplifted the faith of everyone attending. Your selfless contribution helped us reach higher and further than we anticipated.
— REV. DR. KARENT HAMILTON, PARLIAMENT OF THE WORLD'S RELIGIONS
I wanted to send a heartfelt thank you to both of you for helping to bring Tareq to last week’s Global Youth Forum – he was simply amazing and the students absolutely loved his talk. I feel fortunate and privileged that he was able to join us for the event.
— MURIEL O'DOHERTY, SENIOR CONFERENCE PLANNER - CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL GOVERNANCE INNOVATION
Thank you for sharing your story, last week. Your candor was impactful and I have no doubt, your interview will remind our viewers of the truth behind the entrepreneurial journey. While that truth is necessary, it is not often pretty. But with your help, and the help of our other guests, I’m hoping viewers gain a much needed perspective on entrepreneurship
— DR. SEAN WISE BA LLB MBA PhD, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP - RYERSON UNIVERSITY
Tareq’s message is empowering, high energy, engaging, motivational, thought provoking, inspirational and left everyone in the room with a lasting impact. He has an amazing ability to connect with people. He delivers an amazing presentation and has a very powerful story that was the highlight of our meeting. People will be talking about Tareq and Peace by Chocolate for years to come.
— SHERI EVANS, LOCAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, ONTARIO FIELD MERCHANDISING - SOBEYS INC.
Tareq was a very valuable speaker at our event, and the feedback from the people in attendance has been extremely good. It is a real beautiful story, Tareq does so well at telling their story and keeping you captivated on everything he is saying.

We thank you for arranging all of this for us and we would love to do future events together
— TRAVIS SHAW, LOCAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, SOBEYS INC.
I’ve heard a lot of great feedback about the appropriateness of his speech, and how well and thoughtfully he incorporated our topics into his presentation. Everyone was thoroughly impressed by his warmth and candor, and appreciated the way he made himself available to our attendees after the event. Our onsite coordinator said he was “an absolute gem of a human.” Thanks to Tareq for his hard work and wonderful presentation, we hope to work with him again in the future!
— CAITLIN PARKINSON, TRAINING ADMINISTRATOR - NOVA SCOTIA CAREER DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION
It’s human nature to take things for granted. Tareq reminded us all of how lucky we are to live in Canada. His story touched our hearts on a number of different levels: love of family, mortal danger, human dignity and personal pride in who he and his family are - a family of great character .
They were fortunate to find their way to Antigonish but all of NS is even more fortunate to have them to have them live here.
It reminded all us of the journey our own ancestors made to come to this land and their desire to live, be free to raise their families, to realize their potential and to contribute to building a country.
Tareq’s family story may have started in Syria but it is truly a Canadian story!
— ROGER SINCLAIR - CONFERENCE FOR ADVANCED LIFE UNDERWRITING
It was SO wonderful to have Tareq at the event. Everyone from my team loved meeting him. His remarks were perfect and they really complimented the message we were trying to hit home - the importance of an entrepreneurial mindset and learning new digital skills.
— SARAH PATTILO, PBLIC AFFAIRS - GOOGLE CANADA
We were honoured to have Tareq Hadhad deliver his 450th speech to the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology. What a powerful presentation as you could have heard a pin drop in the room. Nothing like seeing Canada through the eyes of a new Canadian. Tareq made us all better human beings by just listening to his story.
— CONSTANCE WRIGLEY - THOMAS, CAE - OWNER/ CEO, ESSENTIENT ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT

Tareq Hadhad

Tareq Hadhad is telling his story. He was a Syrian refugee and now living his new life with his entrepreneurial family in Canada’s east coast. He is the founder and CEO of Peace by Chocolate, the recipient of Start Up Canada’s National Newcomer Entrepreneur Award, named one of the Top 25 Immigrants in The Maritimes and selected by Google as the National Hero Case for 2018. All this has happened since Tareq’s arrival on Canada’s East Coast in December 2015 as a Syrian-Canadian newcomer.

In 2012 the Hadhads home and factory that housed the family chocolate-making business were destroyed which forced them to seek safety in other countries. A former medical student at Damascus University and long-time peacekeeping advocate, Tareq

joined medical relief efforts after arriving in Lebanon. A new life began when Tareq and his family were welcomed to Canada on a community-based sponsorship. 

Passionate about peace and entrepreneurship, his family relaunched the family business to recreate the chocolates they once exported across the Middle East and their story turned into and international inspiring phenomenon.

Tareq and his family have a focus on job creation, utilizing a network of local community members and refugees from across Nova Scotia and Canada to help support the local economy. Now that their chocolates are distributed across Canada they look to offer more employment opportunities as their business grows.

In September 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opened his speech to the United Nations Leaders’ Summit on Refugees detailing the family’s success story.

Tareq has spoken at Amnesty International’s Human Rights Conference, TEDx events, Chambers of Commerce Dinners, keynote presentations in Jamaica and London England and spoken to several corporate and government organizations. He has done over 500 interviews with different news teams across the globe. Tareq speaks on the compelling story of his family, the positive impact of Syrian newcomers and the spirit of entrepreneurship. 

SPEAKING TOPICS

RESILIENCY THROUGH ADVERSITY

PERSEVERANCE FROM PRE-WAR SYRIA TO THE UNITED NATION

Your audience will join Tareq on an emotional journey from Syria to Canada with heartbreaking and perspective shaping stops along the way.

From sunny days in Syria where the scent of roses filled the air to the beginning of conflict and war. 

Listen as Tareq shares the fear and confusion that came when violence and danger begin to slowly surround his family. Understand what it is really like to spend days hiding in your basement, praying for safety and food and medicine. 

Learn how a family made the decision to leave everything behind in search of safety outside of their homeland only to find more uncertainty and desperation in a crowded refugee camp.

Witness the life changing impact of being granted a family ticket to Canada and watch as that countries Prime Minister singles out the Hadhad family and their community for its perseverance and kindness.

Perseverance Through Adversity is an emotional rollercoaster for any audience, one that leaves them feeling inspired and resolved to make their own impact on the world.

ONE PEACE WON’T HURT

BUILDING A CAUSE THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND COMMUNITY

With customers from across Canada and throughout the United States, Peace By Chocolate™ is the result of  people and passions coming together to advocate for a cause - peace.

Your audience will first learn the Hadhad family story. From owning a successful middle eastern chocolate factory in Syria to losing everything to war and conflict, Tareq shares the back story of his fathers love of chocolate and all that was lost when the family fled to Lebanon.

When the family lands in Canada they have only themselves to build on. With the support of their community (Antigonish, Nova Scotia), Isam and his son Tareq began making chocolate in their tiny kitchen. An entrepreneurial spirit brought them to their local farmers market and customers were soon flocking to their small table to purchase their delicious treats.

“People, they loved our chocolate before they even tried it. They loved our story, the cause it represented, and the hope it gave us all,” explains Tareq.

He goes on to describe in detail what happened when global celebrity, political leader and Prime Minister of Canada the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau unexpectedly highlighted their story in an address to the United Nations. Your audience will hear how the family reacted and struggled to make the most out of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Finally, Tareq will delve into the challenges that come with rapid growth, in expanding to new markets and gaining national distribution while staying true to the peace based cause that started it all. 

PEACE IS BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY LANGUAGE

HOW OFFERING KINDNESS IS THE KEY TO ACCELERATING THE INTEGRATION OF NEW IMMIGRANTS

“Offer them kindness, give them a hand, lend them support and immigrants will succeed so much faster.” - that is the message your audience will hear when Tareq shares his unique story of immigration and activism.

Born in Damascus, Tareq shares with your audience the gut wrenching story of how he found himself and his family far from home in a Lebanese refugee camp. Stripped of their possessions, their livelihoods and at the mercy of global aid organizations Tareq talks about how he got involved, how he gave back and worked to find a new home for his family.

Three years after entering Lebanon as a refugees family the Hadhad’s found themselves on the cold and snowy streets of an even farther away town - Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Their journey from the middle east to Canada and its resulting culture shock are the tip of an inspiring iceberg that showcased the compassion and support of Canadians, Nova Scotians and the people of Antigonish.

From coast to coast, Tareq shares with your audience what can happen when people open their arms and offer kindness in another person's time of need. Peace, it truly is beautiful in every language.