Ordinary People, Extraordinary Deeds

A Memoir of a World Citizen Diplomat

Non-Fiction - Memoir
316 Pages
Reviewed on 05/08/2023
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Author Biography

Lois Nicolai is a former teacher; Girl Scout Troop Organizer, Leader and Day Camp Director; and Director of World Citizen Diplomats in Princeton, NJ, which led to seven trips into former Soviet Republics during the fall of Communism through Perestroika and Glasnost.

Today Lois is a widowed mother of six living her dream retirement years on the Jersey Seashore enjoying heart-warming visits with her eighteen grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.

Her first of a three-part "Memoir Trilogy", ORDINARY PEOPLE, EXTRAORDINARY TIMES; A MEMOIR OF ONE CITIZEN ACTIVIST, was released on October 1, 2020, when she recounts a traumatic turning point in her life that leads her into three years of soul-searching. The result casts her into a new realm of life on her 50th birthday.

Her second book, ORDINARY PEOPLE, EXTRAORDINARY ELECTIONS: A MEMOIR OF INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRACY BUILDERS was released on October 1, 2021. It tells about the fifteen years she spent traveling into ten developing European countries helping the OSCE/PAE create new democracies in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Republic of Georgia, and Siberia in northern Kazakhstan.

Her third and final book, ORDINARY PEOPLE, EXTRAORDINARY DEEDS: A MEMOIR OF A WORLD CITIZEN DIPLOMAT, was released in October 2022 and talks about all the projects she encountered from 1988 through 2014.

The trilogy is now available worldwide at BookBaby.com, Amazon, her website, loisnicolaiauthor.com, and bookstores globally.

Lois was awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Pathways to Peace United Nations NGO in September 2022.
You can learn much more by visiting her website!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Deeds: A Memoir of a World Citizen Diplomat by Lois Ann Nicolai is a continuation of the fantastic work Nicolai has accomplished in the second half of her incredible life, promoting the causes of world peace and global cooperation. Book three outlines her journey through the world as a citizen peace diplomat ever since she lost her husband at a young age and decided she would dedicate the rest of her life to furthering the cause of nuclear disarmament and world peace. A simple farmer’s wife, she shows that ordinary citizens can and do make a difference in the promulgation of peace in a world tortured by turmoil and need. In this iteration, Nicolai takes us through the exploits of a non-profit organization she and her fellow peace activists set up to promote peace; World Citizen Diplomats. This group organized and ran various activities to promote their cause. She concludes this trilogy with eleven essays written by men and women from around the world describing what being a World Citizen means to them.

I have read books one and two of this extraordinary woman’s life, and Ordinary People, Extraordinary Deeds continues in the same vein, deepening my respect and awe for this woman and the exceptional results she has accomplished. Lois Ann Nicolai is a force of nature; driven, passionate, determined, and yet deeply sensitive, caring, and most of all desirous, above all else, of world peace. By her very existence, she reminds us that ordinary people, committed citizens of the world, can and do make a difference through our actions. We may not all be able to achieve the incredible workload and commitment she shows, but by becoming involved and offering our concern and support, we make a difference. While the journey through Canada and Alaska was fascinating, the caravan through Europe caught my imagination the most. That eleven different individuals from all over the world could come together and travel around Europe for two months in a van and be cohesive and focused as a group speaks volumes to the intent of the journey; to promote peace. These individuals, by their nature, are the living expression of how peace can be achieved by getting to know your world neighbor intimately.

I truly appreciated the simple concept that all attendees quickly realized; when you strip away the surface realities from human beings, we are all essentially the same and want the same things. This is the true recipe for lasting peace. I immensely enjoyed the eleven essays and viewpoints of what being a World Citizen means from different perspectives. When one essayist commented that she wasn’t sure what she was achieving, she reminded herself that even something as simple as teaching people to use a rubbish bin rather than dropping their rubbish on the street makes a difference. This beautiful, uplifting, and inspiring book offers a simple message of hope; one person can make a difference. I highly recommend it and the entire series of memoirs from Nicolai.

Foluso Falaye

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Deeds: A Memoir of a World Citizen Diplomat is the final book in Lois Ann Nicolai's memoir trilogy and covers the various inspiring achievements of the organization. We discover the way that Lois and her colleagues worked to ensure it became a non-profit organization and received funding from LifeBridge Foundation for various major projects carried out between 1993 and 2004. The numerous humanitarian programs described in the book took place in different locations such as Alaska, Vancouver, Montreal, and Volgograd. Several people benefited from the organization's projects. For example, Natalya and Sasha Greschenko are Russian refugees who were provided with an apartment, cash, and food for their new life in the USA. World Citizen Diplomats also helped to create a business partnership to bring much-needed medicines to Kazakhstan. Every successful project it undertook proved that the organization was truly achieving its goal of promoting "domestic, international, and intercultural understanding among people worldwide."

Fun travels, an enlightening view of diverse cultures, heartwarming acts of kindness, and more of the book's intriguing features kept me reading far into the night. The author must have undertaken a meticulous appraisal of her memories and records to come up with such a rich, intricate memoir. Anyone who wishes to start a similar movement to contribute to a better world will appreciate the comprehensive details of World Citizen Diplomats' accomplishments, such as securing funds and becoming officially registered. Lois Ann Nicolai is such an inspiring character. She kept going even when she was told she had a good chance of failing. Take time out to tap into the humanity and courage of the author and her friends by reading Ordinary People, Extraordinary Deeds. You will learn a lot about how you can contribute to improving world peace, interconnectedness, and tolerance.

K.C. Finn

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Deeds: A Memoir of a World Citizen Diplomat by Lois Ann Nicolai is the third installment of her memoirs. It deals with global sociocultural issues and is best suited to the general adult reading audience. We discover how World Citizen Diplomats became a fully-fledged non-profit organization, and the author takes us through several of the incredible peace-making missions that different teams undertook across the world. From arranging meetings between former Soviet and American civilians to staying with host families in Russia, the incredible citizen activism of this New Jersey group is fully celebrated in all its glory.

Lois Ann Nicolai writes with a clear passion and pride about her involvement in World Citizen Diplomats, and rightly so when you consider the wealth of incredible work that is evidenced here in this charming and uplifting memoir. It’s truly wonderful to read a book that is all about doing good and about kind people in the world who genuinely seek peace with one another. Nicolai has patience in her writing which speaks of a gentle soul and makes it feel as though a dear friend is telling you about their life, career, and passions in an engaging style. I often found myself relaxing whilst engrossed in this moving account of citizen activism and peace-making at its best, and I would not hesitate to recommend Ordinary People, Extraordinary Deeds to anyone seeking true life stories which are deeply inspiring and heart-warming.