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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.