President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be keynote speakers in this year’s edition of South by Southwest. It marks the first time in the Austin festival’s 30-year history that a sitting President and First Lady have been involved.
President Obama will appear during SXSW Interactive’s Keynote Conversation on Friday, March 11th, where he will discuss civic engagement in the 21st century with Evan Smith, CEO/Editor-in-Chief of The Texas Tribune. “The President will call on the audience to apply their ideas and talents to make technology work for us – especially when it comes to tackling big challenges like increasing participation in the political process and fighting climate change,” a press release notes.
The First Lady is scheduled to appear as part of SXSW Music’s opening keynote, taking part in the Let Girls Learn Initiative on Wednesday, March 16th. In line with the First Lady’s “call to action to support girls’ education,” the event “aims to break barriers for the 62 million girls around the world who are not in school today, more than half of whom are adolescent.”
Update – Tuesday, March 16th at 2:50 p.m. CT: Along with her SXSW keynote, First Lady Obama will release a song called “This Is For My Girls” featuring Elliott, Janelle Monaé, Kelly Rowland, Kelly Clarkson, Zendaya, Lea Michele, and more. It will be available at Midnight on iTunes.
“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,” says festival 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.”
For more information on these keynote events and SXSW 2016, head here.