Wes Moore is an Army combat veteran, a Rhodes Scholar, a former White House Fellow and the host of the PBS show about returning veterans, Coming Back with Wes Moore. Yet what intrigued him was another Wes Moore.
Moore will present The Other Wes Moore for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center. Reservations are required. Seats are $15 for students and $35 for non-students. Reservations can be made until Jan. 9 by calling (309) 438-8790 or online at UniversityEvents.IllinoisState.edu/MLK.
The event is sponsored by Illinois State’s Office of the President and the School of Social Work.
In December of 2000, Moore was reading an article in the Baltimore Sun newspaper detailing how – despite his troubled past – he had just received the Rhodes Scholarship. At the same time, the Sun was running stories about four black men who were arrested for the murder of an off-duty Baltimore police officer during an armed robbery. One of the men convicted was just two years older than Moore, grew up in the same neighborhood and – in an uncanny turn – was also named Wes Moore.
Moore wondered how two young men from the same city, who were around the same age, and even shared a name, could arrive at two completely different destinies. The juxtaposition between their lives, and the questions it raised about accountability, chance, fate and family, had a profound impact on Moore. He began a correspondence with the “other” Wes Moore. The results became the best-selling book The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates.
Moore graduated with honors from Valley Forge Military College and Johns Hopkins University. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
A paratrooper and captain in the United States Army, he served a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan with the elite 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. Moore spearheaded the American strategic support plan for the Afghan Reconciliation Program that unites former insurgents with the new Afghan government. A White House Fellow from 2006 to 2007, Moore served as a special assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He is a recognized authority on the rise and ramifications of radical Islamism in the Western Hemisphere. In 2009 he was selected as an Asia Society Fellow.
He remains involved with issues facing veterans and youth. His new show on PBS, Coming Back with Wes Moore tells the story of the search for answers for those returning from war. Moore journeys into the personal lives of different soldiers as they attempt to reintegrate back into society, establish new identities, and – for many – find a new mission. He also serves on the board of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and founded an organization called STAND! through Johns Hopkins that works with Baltimore youth involved in the criminal justice system.
Moore was named one of Ebony Magazine’s “Top 30 Leaders Under 30” for 2007 and Crain’s New York Business’ “40 Under 40 Rising Stars” in 2009. He has been featured in such media outlets as People Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, C-SPAN and MSNBC.