A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


We launched a new version of the Virtual Institute website today. Work began with the new year, but really took off about three months ago, when our new web development intern, Javier Belmonte, came to us soon after receiving his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Geneva.
To the naked eye, the changes are subtle, we have retained our basic “look,” and you can find our content just where it’s always been. We hate it when people clean our office and move our papers around, don’t you?
But behind the scenes the five-year-old website required a major upgrade of the content management system, many third-party functionalities and migration of legacy data.

True to our philosophy, we have stuck with free and open source software, so we owe a debt of gratitude to the developers of Joomla! and of the many other extensions that allow us to provide our membership with the tools to interact and learn.

So what’s new?

The first thing you’ll notice is that it is easier to browse the website in your mobile phone, tablet and/or computer screen, thanks to a new responsive template framework.

For our members requesting our content in different languages, we have provided automatic translation into a gazillion languages. Now, it is not perfect, because the translations are made by a machine rather than a real person, but we thought this would at least help non-English speakers get a general idea of what we offer, and facilitate their ability to take advantage of our capacity-building opportunities.

We have also created an agenda, which not only lists our events, courses and workshops, but includes important dates related to our academic opportunity e-mail alerts – no more missing deadlines for submitting papers or applying for scholarships.

We have also populated the website with more pictures of you in action. But because many of our users face challenges with slow Internet connections, we have kept the photos small, and added some mini slide shows (hover over the images with numbers appearing underneath to navigate) and the ability to view larger versions with a simple mouse click.

We also listened to our social-media fans and replaced our old content rating system with “like” buttons and added easy sharing through your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts. We didn’t want to crowd the homepage with these buttons, so the functionality appears at the bottom of the full article.

Work continues as we “pretty” things up and plan upgrades of the community management system, the digital library and the link to our e-learning platform. We are also looking into solutions for converting our multimedia resources and online course multimedia lectures into a format that will allow viewing on your mobile and other devices.

In the meantime, think about helping us with the updates by making sure that your account information is up to date and that you have uploaded your CV and photo to your personal profile.

University and think tank coordinators can also help by taking a look at their institutions’ profiles and ensuring their logo, contact details and description are up to date. As “owners” of the group, coordinators can make these changes easily on their own.

Finally, please report to me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) any broken links or missing content that may have fallen through the cracks in the transfer to the new website, and don’t forget to invite your colleagues and other professional contacts to join the Vi by creating an account on the website.




System Administrator
#2 System Administrator 2015-07-22 10:06
Muchas gracias! Esperamos les sea útil.
Gerardo Olarte Sanchez
#1 Gerardo Olarte Sanchez 2015-07-21 20:48
Tiene mas vida la nueva pagina web.