Key to lead UWA’s global programs

Published 8:13 pm Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Troy native John Curry Key is now leading the University of West Alabama’s Office of International Programs and is overseeing global educational partnerships.

Key most recently served as director of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ International Trade and Market Development Program, which assists Alabama companies in exporting their products, produce and services around the world.

In that position, Key implemented 28 international trade missions to 14 foreign countries and worked cooperatively with UWA to foster faculty and student exchange programs with international institutions of higher learning.

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Key said he is excited about the opportunity for international growth at UWA and that the experience he gained while working with the Department of Agriculture is invaluable as he makes the move from the trade arena to education.

“In joining the University of West Alabama’s family, I am charged with creating their International Programs Division,” Key said. “We will provide opportunities for foreign students to live in Alabama and attend classes at UWA. This new project will allow these tuition-paying students the opportunity to learn in the heart of Alabama’s Blackbelt region and continue to expand cultural awareness in the Blackbelt.

“In addition, the Division of International Programs at UWA will seek out opportunities for students attending UWA to study abroad. This unique life experience will enable students from Alabama’s Blackbelt region to gain a better understanding of the world outside of West Alabama.”

The Division of International Programs at UWA also has plans to offer a non-traditional educational products for potential students.

“We want to offer short termed study visits to attend classes and intern domestically and internationally,” Key said.

“We also want to offer, with our partner International Expeditions, unique lab and visitation experiences to international ecologically diverse areas such as the Peruvian Amazon and the Galapagos Islands and build on the study of the Civil Rights movement in Alabama.”

UWA President Richard D. Holland said the university is pleased to welcome John Curry Key.

“His background in international and governmental affairs makes him well suited for this important new position,” Holland said.

Before joining the faculty of UWA, Key had been at the Alabama Department of Agriculture for six years.

“I’m proud of the accomplishments of the International Trade Division,” he said. “Six years ago this department had never written a Unified Export Strategy Grant. This year we have 16 funded UES proposals. Six years ago we were not involved with the food manufacturers of this state. Today, there is a Food Manufacturers Association that we helped form and a value added food product promotion that reaches every corner of our state.

“Looking back over our efforts, companies reported to us selling a total of $900 million in products over the past five reporting years which they directly attributed to our involvement with them. I’m proud of this.”

Key wore many hats at the Department of Agriculture and worked within many different fields. He worked to bring new companies to Alabama and fought to keep others here, keeping or creating more than 1,000 jobs.

“I worked with our partners to help pass and defeat legislation and encourage federal policy changes to protect and/or promote Alabama’s interests,” Key said. “I have worked with many universities from our state during our various trade missions.”

Key holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Troy University. He has served on the boards of directors for the Troy University Center for International Business and Auburn University Agriculture and Forestry Leadership Development Program. Key continues to provide leadership for the Southern United States Trade Association in New Orleans.

Key and his wife, Dawn, are the parents of two daughters, Abby and Addison. The Keys live in Troy.