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BEIJING – Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba is the first by a US president since Calvin Coolidge went in 1928. American investors, expat Cubans, tourists, scholars, and scam artists will follow in Obama’s wake. Normalization of the bilateral relationship will pose opportunities and perils for Cuba, and a giant test of maturity for the United States.

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DUBAI – I’m delighted to join in the celebration of this year’s International Day of Happiness. But, to be honest, my focus is on the other 364 days of the year. After all, I am in the happiness business.

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CAMBRIDGE – A few years ago, the global campaign to eradicate polio seemed to have stalled. After decades of eradication efforts, the virus remained stubbornly endemic in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

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LONDON – Buried among the 169 targets contained in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – adopted by the United Nations last September amid a blaze of glitzy events, celebrity endorsements, and back-slapping by world leaders, aid donors, and non-governmental organizations – was the vital pledge to eliminate “preventable child deaths” by 2030. It is a cause for our generation – but one that will take a lot more than UN communiqués to advance.

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CAMBRIDGE – Five years after the Arab Spring uprisings began, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia have achieved reasonable levels of political stability. Yet economic growth remains tepid, and the International Monetary Fund does not expect the pace of expansion to exceed 1.5% per capita this year. Given the region’s large catch-up potential and young workforces, one must ask why this is so.

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