Activist-Performer Peter Jam stages show



Corinna Vlahoyiannis

To independent musician and activist Peter Jambazian, known commonly by his fans and followers as Peter Jam, “the purpose of life is to be happy, happiness turns to joy when we share it.”  Jam has traveled the world spreading messages of peace and love through musical performances and speeches, including Villanova on March 16. 

 Born to Armenian parents in Beirut, Lebanon in 1981, Jam’s family survived three generations of turmoil—his grandfather the Armenian genocide, his father the Israeli conflict, and Jam himself the Lebanese civil war.  Thus, Jam saw his calling in activism. 

Jam has worked with groups supporting civil rights, women and children’s rights, animal rights, and environmental activism.  He has been internationally recognized for his humanitarian works, including being named “Ambassador for Peace” by the Lebanese UN. 

 As someone who is living in the United States under a specialized visa, “Artists With Extraordinary Abilities,” Jam strongly believes in the universal power of artistry.  To Jam, “everyone is an artist.  Anyone can create healthy relationships, good friendships, love, and peace.  Even if you are not good in ‘art,’ this is being a real artist.” 

It was always Jam’s dream to move to the United States to perform, and though he received little formal musical training, his passion and unrelenting work ethic steered his dream. Jam sings, plays multiple instruments and writes and arranges his own music, so it is only fitting that while in Lebanon in 1999, Jam started his own rock band, Vibrations.  Now an independent artist, Jam’s music is more focused on spreading messages of universal peace and love. 

More than five years ago, with only a plane ticket, video camera, tripod and guitar, Jam embarked on a “European Peace Tour” with the initial desire to record video of him singing his song “If You Want” in three European countries. As more people heard about his tour, Jam visited 18 countries, turning it into a “Universal Peace Tour,” spreading his #WeAllNeed campaign.   On his peace-building initiative, Jam sang with children, using his multi-lingual capabilities to teach them his songs of peace and share with them the happiness of music.  

When he is questioned as to why he spread his message to stable nations, instead of war-torn areas, Jam explains that unlike people of war-torn areas, people living in stable countries are more able to listen to his message and have a greater ability to utilize what they have to care for others.  

  Jam is a firm believer in the power of the human will, crediting much of his success not to careful planning, but hard work and intense desire, saying “the one thing you can do is create yourself, influencing others to become themselves.” Jam’s goal is to inspire some being every day. Though Jam describes himself as spiritual and non-religious, he is proud of his Armenian-Christian upbringing. “All religions want peace, love and humility,” Jam said. “None want hate.  We are humans before what we are born into or what we learn. We need to see how it is eye to eye with another human.”

In 2014 Jam released his album, “Universality,” showcasing his unique musical aesthetic: an eclectic blend of peace-related songs and romantic tunes which mix Arabic-musical style and rock and roll.

Through Jam’s current project, “positive message through the power of music, art and speech,” he makes “presentations” of speeches and music hoping to inspire audiences.  Now a resident of Philadelphia, he splits most of his work time between New York and Washington D.C.  Jam currently has a visa, but he is working towards a green card through work. 

He will soon release a book reflecting on his life experiences and philosophies, expanding on his conceptions of hate, violence, and physical well-being, explaining that to be healthy and happy, we just “need to watch what we see, hear and eat.”  

Sharing anecdotes from his travels and philosophies during his visit to the University, Jam performed “If You Want,” encouraging the audience to join him in song.  As an activist, Jam lives to inspire others everyday through his speech and song; but as he closed his presentation, he reminded the audience, “everyone is an activist, anyone can transform.”