Presidential Symposium to Feature Youth Advocate Wes Moore

by Diane VanDyke

Wes Moore

Wes Moore

Youth advocate, entrepreneur and author Wes Moore will discuss the power of personal responsibility, education and positive influences on the lives of youth at Montgomery County Community College’s Annual Presidential Symposium on April 2, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The program also will be simulcast to the South Hall Community Room at the College’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The lecture is free and open to the public.

While Moore’s life is full of notable accomplishments, his childhood was part of a different path and destiny. Raised by single mother in an urban neighborhood where drugs and crime were prevalent, Moore fell into the habit skipping school and getting into trouble with the law. Fearing the worst, his mother enrolled him at Valley Forge Military Academy and College—a decision that changed the course of his life.

Moore subsequently graduated Phi Theta Kappa as a commissioned officer from Valley Forge in 1998 and earned his bachelor’s degree 2001 in international relations at John Hopkins University, where he was honored by the Maryland College Football Hall of Fame. In 2004, he completed an MLitt in international relations at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

Coincidentally, when the Baltimore Sun published an article in December 2000 about Moore’s receipt of the Rhodes Scholarship, it also published article about another young man also named Wes Moore. The other Wes Moore, however, was arrested for the murder of an off-duty police officer during an armed robbery and was sentenced to life in prison.

Moore read about the other Wes Moore and discovered they both lived in the same neighborhood as children. He realized it was only through fate, his mother’s perseverance and the positive influences of his education and mentors that changed the course of Moore’s life.

Because of these interventions, Moore was able to successfully complete his higher education and then become a paratrooper and Captain in the U.S. Army, where he served a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan with the elite 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division in 2005-06.

Then, as a White House Fellow from 2006-07, Moore served as a Special Assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  Thereafter, he became an investment professional for Citigroup in New York. In 2009, he was selected as an Asia Society Fellow and was named one of Crain’s New York Business’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars.

During this time, Moore thought about the other Wes Moore and visited him, and over time, they became friends. Moore then wrote about their lives in a book, “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates,” to help young people find ways redirect their lives. Moore now is committed to helping youth and families find the support they need.

A por­tion of all book pro­ceeds for “The Other Wes Moore” are being donated to City Year and the U.S. Dream Academy. Moore will be signing copies of his book following his presentation at the symposium.

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