Dear friends of The Unity Express,
It’s a long time ago since you last heard from us. In the beginning of 2012 the core team of The Unity Express decided to take a break in order to recharge. But what was planned as a time-out for two or three months, turned into an absence from the project for more than a year. Today we regretfully want to tell you that the current team of The Unity Express will not continue working on the project.
With this message we want to shine some light on the time after Brussels and share with you how we came to the decision not to continue with the project.
On 2nd November 2011 we decided together with Generation Europe Foundation (our partner since June 2011) to postpone the first edition of the Unity Express. The main reason was that GEF was forced to step out of the project, due to events external to the project and our collaboration. This was a huge setback for us. GEF had brought into the project the experience we didn’t have and access to the network of potential funders that we needed so much at that stage of the project.
Nonetheless we stayed determined for 3 months longer during which we adjusted our strategies to the new situation, had meetings with potential funders and approached new partners to realize The Unity Express together with. But we didn’t achieve our expected results and we came to a point where we felt very exhausted. Despite our determination, the support from volunteers from all over the world and the trust from early partners, getting the funds and commitment for a project like The Unity Express proved to be more difficult than expected.
A lot happened in each of our lives during our absence since April 2012. We had the chance to see the Unity Express from outside perspectives and started to see alternative paths for our lives. We learned and eventually realized that we’re not the right persons anymore to manage The Unity Express. For us as individuals we have to accept this development.
Over the course of 3 years we achieved more than we’ve ever dreamt in the beginning. We were touched by the energy that people dedicated to the project, inspired by the many people we talked to, grateful for every little amount of money that was donated, proud about the word that got spread and honoured by the trust we received. We are very grateful for all of this and we know how disappointing it must be for all of you who believe in The Unity Express and in us.
But let’s not forget that by building this community of support, we already started feeling more connected to each other. We had a common cause and fought for it. We met in many different countries, with very different people and always felt this shared belief in a European Community that is able to overcome national borders. However small the contribution, every one of you became part of a bigger community and by that the Unity Express succeeded already.
And it doesn’t need to be over.
The Unity Express is an open book and you can continue its story without us. A lot that is needed is already there: a route that works, a website with already most of the tools needed, a solid cost calculation to plan with and knowledge about difficulties as well as many solutions for them. We made a conscious decision at the beginning of the project that all material we create together should be published under a Creative Commons license. This way we enable anyone to re-use the work and create a spin-off project.
In practice this means the following. Our website will contain a download link to the files in our SugarSync folder, a link to the Unity Express website source code and database dump. This should enable you to restart the project if you so desire. In fact, if you are missing anything, just send us an E-mail, we’d be happy to help where we can. The unityexpress.eu website will remain available until further notice. We’ll notify you at least 1 month in advance before the website will go offline.
People have always told us what a beautiful idea the Unity Express is and how much they like to make it happen. If you are one of them, we encourage you to become the new core team of The Unity Express and finish what we started. We know that The Unity Express is possible, and honestly, we would be happy to get invited on board.
Coen, Michiel and Stephan
(founding fathers of The Unity Express)