Building Bridges – Suggestions From The Community

A young lawyer from China, who lived in Columbia and participated in our last forum recently wrote us with the following suggestion:

I asked several of my friends, who are from different countries, that question “How to build bridges between communities”  and several of them suggested that sports may be a good way, especially soccer. Therefore, I think a city sponsored soccer tournament might be considered to connect people for different communities in Columbia. This tournament can be named as the “Columbia small world cup”.


He then listed several reasons why such a soccer tournament could be a good tool for building bridges in our community. These included:

1) Soccer is very popular in Columbia. As far as I know, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Myanmar, Ghana, Mexican, and some people from Middle East have their own soccer teams and play soccer every week. However, these teams rarely play with each other. A soccer tournament can provide opportunities for these soccer teams to know each other, play together, and build up deep relationships.

2) A soccer tournament will be a small cost event for the city. The main cost for a soccer tournament is renting soccer fields. However, since the city owns lots of nice soccer fields, for example Cosmo park, the cost will be very small if the city is willing to hold a soccer tournament. In addition, the city can charge affordable registration fee ($200~300/team) from soccer teams to minimize its cost.

3) Lots of people may attend a soccer tournament. Usually one soccer team has 20 players, and their families and friends will come and watch the games.


Join our online forum tomorrow, June 21 from 5 to 6 and share your ideas for building bridges across our community.  Go to and follow the prompts.

Have thoughts about how to make a “Columbia small world cup” tournament a reality?  Share them in the comment section below!



“Loving All Our Neighbors”

Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation, Mid-Missouri Peaceworks and the Islamic Center of Central Missouri have announced they will be holding a community conversation on inclusion, titled “Loving All Our Neighbors”, on Tuesday Feb. 16 at Rock Bridge Christian Church, 301 W. Green Meadows Rd., Columbia. This free gathering will include an optional potluck dinner at 6 p.m. and a panel discussion and community conversation starting at 7 p.m.

Come and discuss a range of related topics –inclusion, the embrace of diversity, addressing racism, Islamophobia, and the plight of refugees and undocumented people.

The panel of speakers for this event includes:

  • Rasha Abousalem, Director of Humanitarian Operations with Global First Responders, who led a mission last month to Calais, France camp where thousands of war refugees are temporarily living;
  • Alejo Gonzalez, MU English/Psychology student who works with at-risk youth;
  • Marquise Griffin, MU graduate student in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis program with an emphasis on Higher Education; and
  • Faisan Syad, Executive Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) St. Louis.