Obama, first lady to appear at South by Southwest festival for keynote discussions

The festival will run from March 11-20 in Austin, Texas.
By Doug G. Ware   |   March 2, 2016 at 6:31 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 2 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama and the first lady will attend this month's South by Southwest arts festival in Texas, organizers announced Wednesday.

The first couple will travel to the event, the festival said, and take part in keynote discussions.

SXSW, started in 1987, is one of the nation's most prominent arts festivals. It hosts events for film, music and interactive media.

Obama's presence will mark the first time in the festival's history that a sitting president attended the event.

During his conversation on March 11, the president will discuss civic engagement in the 21st century and call on the audience for ideas to make technology work, the festival said in a news release on its website.

Five days later, Michelle Obama's talk 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, more than half of whom are adolescent."

"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," the festival's co-founder, Roland Swenson, 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."

Last year, whistleblower Edward Snowden appeared via web chat at SXSW to discuss technology and security.

SXSW 2016 will be held from March 11-20 in Austin.

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