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Published on March 11th, 2016 | by Jerry Doby


President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to speak at SXSW 2016

sxsw-2016-platinumlogoFirst appearance at the internationally-recognized event in Austin, TX for President Barack Obama at SXSW Interactive and First Lady Michelle Obama at SXSW Music

When you draw the attention of the White House, either its ire or its support, you know you’ve made it! Today, President Obama will participate in the Keynote Conversation for SXSW Interactive 2016 and First Lady Michelle Obama will kick off the Keynote for SXSW Music next week.

This represents the first time in the 30 year history of SXSW that a sitting President has participated in the festival…cementing the festival in the annals of history. See the full official announcement below:

South by Southwest® (SXSW®) is honored to announce President Barack Obama will appear as part of a Keynote Conversation at SXSW Interactive on [today] Friday, March 11 and First Lady Michelle Obama will be the opening Keynote at SXSW Music on Wednesday, March 16. This marks the first time in the 30-year history of SXSW that a sitting President and the First Lady have participated in the event, which is known for showcasing the most innovative ideas and creative talent of our time.

Over the past 30 years, SXSW has become the premier destination to discover game- changing new technologies, films, and artists while networking with some of the brightest minds where ideas and topics converge to unite all industries and cultures.

President Obama will sit down with Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune Evan Smith for a conversation about civic engagement in the 21st Century before an audience of creators, early adopters and entrepreneurs who are defining the future of our connected lives. 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. In the lead- up to the event, The Texas Tribune will also source questions for the discussion from its online audience.

First Lady Michelle Obama comes to SXSW Music to discuss the Let Girls Learn initiative, which 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. The SXSW Music Conference brings the global music industry together and offers the perfect platform to celebrate Women’s History Month, as the First Lady provides her call to action to support girls’ education.

“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 SXSW 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.”

President Obama’s appearance is open to all SXSW Interactive, Gold, and Platinum registrants.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s event is open to all SXSW Music, Film, Gold, and Platinum registrants.

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.

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