Austin’s South by Southwest Festival will include a presidential visit this year. Barack and Michelle Obama have been scheduled to speak at panels during the event’s 30th anniversary.
“SXSW is honored to announce President Barack Obama will appear as part of a Keynote Conversation at SXSW Interactive on Friday March 11 and First Lady Michelle Obama will be the opening Keynote at SXSW Music on Wednesday March 16,” the festival’s website shares.
Next Friday the President will join CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Texas Tribune for a conversation about civic engagement in the 21st Century. The audience, composed mainly of entrepreneurs in the tech-industry, will be called by Obama to “apply their ideas and talents to make technology work for us,” and create ways to tackle challenges like increasing political participation and fighting climate change.
The following Wednesday, Mrs. Obama will open SXSW Music, advocating on behalf of Let Girls Learn, an initiative aimed to break barriers for the 62 million girls around the world who are not in school today, and honoring Women’s History Month.
“I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate our event’s 30th year than to welcome both the President and First Lady to SXSW,” said Co-founder Roland Swenson. “As each new generation comes up at SXSW they look for ways they can be of service, and it’s important to reflect and support that message. President and Mrs. Obama’s visit here will inspire attendees to that purpose.”
The yearly festival, which features live music, film screenings and hosts the tech industry, begins next week in Austin, Texas. The panels will mark the first time in the 30-year history of SXSW that a sitting President and First Lady have participated in the festival.