Obama will be challenged to strike a balance between addressing human rights issues and democracy in Egypt and the region while not seeming like he is imposing U.S. values or standards.
Aides said that the president would not shy away from addressing tough issues and will address concerns the administration has with parts of the Muslim world.
The White House extended invitations to dissidents and opponents of the Mubarak regime, "so the audience will be reflective of that political culture," National Security Council spokesman Dennis McDonough said.
So far, Obama does not have individual meetings set up with dissidents, but White House officials say the schedule has not been finalized.
Obama will also hold a bilateral meeting with Mubarak. The two were scheduled to meet at the White House last week but Mubarak had to cancel due to the death of his grandson.
White House officials said the Middle East will be at the top of the agenda, but the president will also not shy away from addressing civil society issues.
Cairo University will serve as a compelling backdrop for Obama's speech. The 100-year-old university has been a center of student pro-democracy protests and is a symbol of liberalism in Egypt. The university postponed exams in preparation for Obama's visit.
McDonough said that the president will directly engage young Muslims.
"Egypt is a long-time strategic ally of the United States; it's a key country in the Arab and Muslim world. It is a young -- like much of the Muslim world, itself -- is a young country with a burgeoning younger population that the president looks very much forward to engaging directly in this speech," McDonough said.
The city and university have been cleaning up in anticipation of Obama's speech.
President Obama arrived in steamy Saudi Arabia today for the first leg of his third overseas trip, with the Middle East peace process at the top of his agenda.
In a meeting with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah at his horse farm outside Riyadh, Obama cited the "long history of friendship" and a "strategic relationship" between the United States and Saudi Arabia.
"As I take this trip, and we'll be visiting Cairo tomorrow [Thursday], I thought it was very important to come to the place where Islam began and to seek His Majesty's counsel and to discuss with him many of the issues that we confront here in the Middle East," the president said.
King Abdullah also noted the ties between the two nations, which he said go back to the 1930's and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the late King Abdul-Aziz.
He endorsed Obama's election win, calling him "a distinguished man who deserves to be in this position."
As Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia, a new audio tape from Osama bin Laden emerged, accusing the U.S. president of adopting the same policies as his predecessor in the Islamic world.
Rising crude oil prices, which hit a year-high last week, have pushed up the price of gasoline. Saudi Arabia is the world's top oil exporter and is one of the top 15 trading partners of the United States, the only Muslim country on that list.