The winter of 2002 found John Moore at 13,000 feet above sea level, high in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountains. After coalition forces retook the Afghan capital of Kabul from the Taliban, thousands of internally displaced persons returned home, flowing south toward the city. John, working for a small NGO, assisted a local team in keeping the Soviet-built, 2.6-kilometer Salang Tunnel clear for civilians to pass through. When not watching for avalanches and bandits, John had a bird’s eye view of the challenges facing local Afghan communities.
The International Arena
Interest in the international arena is a theme of John’s life. “I’m a Navy brat,” he offers by way of explanation. He grew up crossing borders and continued his nomadic ways into adulthood. “I spent about 23 years working in the Islamic world, between East Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia,” he says. John was in Manhattan on September 11, 2001, and says the experience further drove his interest in the world and the way in which the U.S. engages abroad. John has worked out of Dubai, Washington DC, Nepal, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, among other locations. While based in Kabul, John met the love of his life, Kirsten, an Aussie and fellow aid worker. Their family now includes sons Alex and Zachary, and since moving to Alaska, a new puppy!
A Political Economist and Self-Proclaimed Nerd
John is a political economist and self-proclaimed nerd. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the Virginia Military Institute and a Master’s degree in Political Economy at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He is currently completing a PhD, using Iraq as a case study to examine the relationship between economic structure, patterns of political behavior, and state cohesion. But John is careful to state that he is not an expert. “You get humbled really quick by the world and you realize that you’re going to be a student for the rest of your life,” he says. “The chance to bear witness and share experiences with and learn from others is critical.”
Career at ExxonMobil
For the past eight years, John has helped to manage ExxonMobil’s social investment and community relations, first in Iraq and then in Papua New Guinea. John’s family moved to Alaska in late 2016, feeling the urge to return to America but wanting a unique experience beyond the confines of a traditional location. Now a senior advisor for government and public affairs, John helps design and oversee ExxonMobil’s social investment and community relations efforts around the state. “Alaska is a place I dreamed about as a boy back in Virginia, and I’m thrilled to be here,” he says.
John has long been impressed with the mission of the Red Cross, describing them as “the classical humanitarian model,” adding that “they’ve been involved in some very tough issues in some very tough places.” In Iraq and Afghanistan, John saw Red Cross and Red Crescent workers create artificial limbs in an area with very few resources and witnessed them support internally displaced persons suffering the trauma of war. In Nepal and Papua New Guinea, he saw the organization work to ensure the health and safety of prisoners. When John learned about the Red Cross of Alaska’s own vital work throughout the state, his interest was immediate. When asked to join the board, the decision was already made: “I’ve always loved the Red Cross and the work that they do. As a person who cares and wants to engage with these types of issues, it’s fantastic.”