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President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama to Speak at SXSW

by Reuters /
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are seen above audience member cell phones as they host a reception celebrating African American History Month in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 18.Carolyn Kaster / AP file

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South by Southwest has announced that President Barack Obama will appear as part of a keynote conversation at SXSW Interactive on March 11.

First Lady Michelle Obama will be the opening keynote at SXSW Music on March 16.

SXSW said Wednesday that it's the first time in its 30-year history that a sitting president and the first lady have participated in the event.

SXSW said 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 and call on the audience to apply their ideas and talents to make technology work in areas such as increasing participation in the political process and fighting climate change.

Read More: 'We Made a Mistake': SXSW to Host Online Harassment Summit

First Lady Michelle Obama 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.

"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."

The festival opens March 11 with the world premiere of Richard Linklater's "Everybody Wants Some."

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