Tareq Hadhad

Keynote: Thursday, April 18

Resiliency Through Adversity: Perseverance From Pre-War Syria To The United Nation

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 began 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 as refugees in Lebanon. Witness the life changing impact of being granted a family ticket to Canada and watch as that country’s Prime Minister singles out the Hadhad family and their community for its perseverance and kindness.

Resiliency 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.


Tareq Hadhad is telling his story. He was a Syrian refugee and is now living his new life with his entrepreneurial family on Canada’s east coast. He is the founder and CEO of Peace by Chocolate, the recipient of the EY Entrepreneur of The Year 2021 for Atlantic, named one of the Top 25 Immigrants in The Maritimes, selected by Google as the National Hero Case, and was awarded RBC’s top Immigrant Award and Entrepreneur of the Year in 2020 and Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal. All of this has happened since Tareq’s arrival on Canada’s East Coast in December 2015 as a Syrian-Canadian newcomer.

In 2012 the Hadhad’s 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 an 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 January 2020, Tareq received his official Canadian Citizenship, which garnered international attention and has become one of the greatest accomplishments of his life. He has had the privilege to meet former President of the United States, Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Ministers, and has had conversations with many World Leaders. Author Jon Tattrie wrote a book about the Hadhad’s story, which has become a best seller. A feature film, Peace by Chocolate, also based on the family’s story, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and launched in Cineplex theatres across Canada in the spring of 2022. The film won several film festival awards and accolades. 

Tareq has spoken at the Summit of The Americas, Amnesty International’s Human Rights Conference, TEDx events, and Chambers of Commerce Dinners. He delivered keynote presentations in Jamaica, London, Paris, and Copenhagen, spoke to several corporate and government organizations in person and virtually, and 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 newcomers, and the spirit of resiliency, entrepreneurship and giving back. 

He was recently awarded Atlantic Business Magazine’s 30 under 30 Innovators.