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Party Like Barack Stars: Barack and Michelle Obama to Give Keynote Speeches at SXSW

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As if it isn’t already hard enough to move around Austin during South by Southwest, now you’ll have the Secret Service to deal with, too.

Organizers for the festival have announced President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama will both be speaking at the massive multimedia event taking over Austin this month. The president will appear as part of a Keynote Conversation on March 11 during SXSW Interactive – the digital and tech-based component of the festival.The First Lady will be the opening Keynote speaker for the music festival on March 16. It marks the first time in the three-decade history of SXSW that a sitting president and First Lady have participated in the event.

President Obama will sit down with the editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune for a conversation about civic engagement in the 21st century and, according to a press release, he’ll “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 days leading up to the event, The Texas Tribune will also source questions for the discussion from its online audience.

The First Lady will 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.

South by Southwest co-founder Roland Swenson is stoked. “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,” he said. “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 will be 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. 

More details regarding location, time, streaming and access to both events will be announced in the coming days. 

Brought to you by Mazda, presenting sponsor of Hype Hotel at SXSW. #MazdaSXSW #HypeON

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