There are many activities and shows to go to when attending South by Southwest (SXSW), from musical acts and comedians, to lectures and exhibitions, all of which will be entertaining attendees of the annual festival throughout the weekend. However, it seems like this year’s festival will hold a rather special event that seems to be just the cherry on top to this already legendary SXSW. The festival is honored to announce that President Barack Obama has agreed to appear as part of a Keynote Conversation at SXSW Interactive happening on Friday, March 11th. Set to open the Keynote at SXSW Music will be none other than First Lady Michelle Obama, who will be appearing at the festival on Wednesday, March 16th. In the entire 30-year history of SXSW never once has a sitting President and First Lady participate in the event that is well known for showcasing innovative ideas and the most creative talent of our era.
Sitting down with the Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune Evan Smith, as well as in front of an auditorium full of creators, entrepreneurs, and early adopters that are defining the future of our connected lives, President Obama will be conversing about civic engagement in the 21st Century. Calling on audience members to suggest and use their ideas and skills in order to make technology work for us, tackling all sorts of big challenges like increased participation in the political process, or fighting climate change etc,. To help sourcing questions and discussion topics leading-up to the event, The Texas Tribune has turned to its online audience to enhance the social experience of the convention.
First Lady Michelle Obama on the other hand, will be coming to SXSW Music in order to discuss the Let Girls Learn initiative, an organization which looks to break the barriers for the 62 million girls around the world who do not attend school today, more than half of them being young teens. SXSW Music Conference brings together the global music industry that offers the perfect platform to celebrate Women’s History Month, and leading the way will be none other than our First Lady to provide a call to action for the support of girls’ education.
SXSW co-founder Ronald Swenson commented on this news, saying “I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate our event’s 30th year than to welcome both the President and the First Lady to SXSW” he continued “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 President’s appearance is open to all SXSW Interactive, Gold, and Platinum registrants. First Lady Michelle Obama’s event will be open to all SXSW, Film, Gold, and Platinum registrants.
UPDATE (3/14/2016): According to Consequence of Sound, Michelle Obama will be joined by hip-hop star Missy Elliot, songwriter Dianne Warren and actress Sophia Bush during her keynote at SXSW 2016. Moderating the panel will be actress/musician Queen Latifah. According to SXSW’s website, the keynote will address the First Lady’s Let Girls Learn initiative.