EWC Volunteer Named ‘Happiest Man in America’

Trudy and Alvin Wong

HONOLULU (March 8, 2011) – Want to know the secret of becoming the ‘happiest person in America?’ Just ask longtime East-West Center host family volunteer Alvin Wong: “Surround yourself with young people -- they give you energy.” This week, the New York Times named Wong the statistical ‘happiest man in America’ after asking the Gallup opinion research organization to come up with a demographic profile of such a person. The Timesthen located Wong based on Gallup’s improbable-seeming response: he’s a tall, Asian-American, observant Jew who is at least 65 and married, has children, lives in Hawai‘i, and runs his own business.


Over the past four decades, Wong and his wife Trudy have welcomed more than a hundred EWC students into their home as a host family , and they have also established a special ‘ Ohana Scholarshipfor Center degree students who are committed to social service. Their daughter Shaaroni is a graduate of EWC’s Asia Pacific Leadership program.


Wong says he’s been telling journalists and others who have been calling since the Times article appeared that “for me, what contributes most to happiness in life is humor, the humility of religion, and the need to work at staying young. And for Trudy and I, what keeps us young is meeting so many young people through our association with the East-West Center. Learning about their fresh ideas and their life experiences in so many different cultures has really opened my eyes to a lot.”