July 21, 2017

Fall Back Up with Tareq Hadhad

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On this episode I’m delighted to sit down with former Syrian refugee, medical student and entrepreneur, Tareq Hadhad

In the election of 2015, then candidate for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged if his party won the election, his new Liberal government would begin 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 and his father was running a well establish chocolate manufacturing business in Damascus when hostilities broke out in Syria. After essentially losing everything in fire fights, looting and airstrikes, the family fled to Lebanon, eventually being 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, crowd funding project, and community support 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.

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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…

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