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.