President Barack Obama next week becomes the first president to attend and keynote the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. He will call on the tech-savvy audience to get more involved in politics and fight climate change.
The move comes during a turbulent time in U.S. history amid a heated election year and controversy surrounding a Supreme Court Justice nomination.
At the conference, Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith will sit down with the President for a conversation about civic engagement. A SXSW organizer said the president's appearance is open to all Interactive, Gold, and Platinum registrants, but made no mention as to whether the event will require prescreening of registrants to attend the session.
First Lady Michelle Obama will also attend to discuss her Let Girls Learn initiative, which aims to help girls around the world who don't have access to formal schooling. She will deliver the opening keynote at SXSW Music on the following Wednesday. 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.
"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,” SXSW co-founder Roland Swenson said in a statement.