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How the Hadhad family went from war in Syria to Peace by Chocolate

Los Angeles-based Magnetic North Pictures has been busy turning the story of Peace by Chocolate founder Tareq Hadhad and his family into a dramatic feature film that’s expected to debut in the fall of 2020. -- Peace by Chocolate/Facebook
Los Angeles-based Magnetic North Pictures has been busy turning the story of Peace by Chocolate founder Tareq Hadhad and his family into a dramatic feature film that’s expected to debut in the fall of 2020. - Website photo from Peace by Chocolate
ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

Theirs was a good life. A nice home. A successful business. A son in medical school.

But when the bombs started falling on Damascus, Syria, the lives of the Hadhad family were blown apart.

From Damascus, to a refugee camp in Lebanon, and eventually to Canada, where Tareq Hadhad, the one-time medical student, arrived alone, with nothing. But community support and a drive to give back to that community helped the family thrive in their new home.

“Peace by Chocolate is not only about chocolate,” Hadhad told Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce in 2017. “It is an initiative to everybody to think about how newcomers contribute in their new home country. How they work really hard to rebuild their lives after they lose everything.”

From tragedy, success

2012

Bombing destroys Hadhad home and chocolate business Assam Hadhad had been running since 1980. Assam and his family leave Syria.

Nov. 24, 2015

Federal Liberal Immigration Minister John McCallum announces plan to settle 25,000 Syrian refugees by February 2016.

Nova Scotia to welcome 20 to 30 families of Syrian refugees: ISANS

Dec. 19, 2015

After three years, the family leaves a refugee camp in Lebanon for Canada.

2016

Assam Hadhad begins selling chocolates at the Antigonish farmers market.

November 2016

Peace by Chocolate wins the NOW Nova Scotia Good News Award

Tareq Hadhad, a former Syrian refugee who has resettled with his family in Antigonish, is seen chatting with well wishers following a presentation to a Chamber of Commerce audience this week in Truro. - Harry Sullivan
Tareq Hadhad, a former Syrian refugee who has resettled with his family in Antigonish, is seen chatting with well wishers following a presentation to a Chamber of Commerce audience this week in Truro. - Harry Sullivan

Former refugees promote peace, goodwill through chocolate

October 2017

Peace by Chocolate wins Start Up Canada’s National Newcomer Entrepreneur Award

September 2018

Chosen for Google National Hero Case

Peace by Chocolate founder recognized by Google - Contributed
Peace by Chocolate founder recognized by Google - Contributed

June 20, 2019

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds up a Peace by Chocolate bar, one of her gifts from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as they settle a wager on the Toronto Raptors defeating the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, June 20, 2019. - Al Drago / Reuters - Contributed
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds up a Peace by Chocolate bar, one of her gifts from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as they settle a wager on the Toronto Raptors defeating the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, June 20, 2019. - Al Drago / Reuters - Contributed

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau includes Peace by Chocolate bar in gift to Nancy Pelosi.

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