President Barack Obama will welcome former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice back to the White House on Friday.
Obama has sharp foreign policy differences with Rice, a Republican who was a key figure in the run-up to the Iraq war,which Obama always opposed, under George W. Bush's administration.
The president also frequently criticized the former White House team for neglecting the Afghan war, as he formulated a new strategy last year.
But Obama and Rice are both racial pioneers. He is America's first black president, and she is the highest-ranking black woman in the history of the executive branch of the U.S. government.
In an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday, Rice said that comments by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich that Obama's worldview was "anti-colonial" because of his African heritage were "over the top."
Rice, who has returned to academic life, is promoting a memoir and will meet Obama in the Oval Office.
© AFP 2013