Obamas to visit Texas for SXSW festival

Nation/World
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WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Obamas are heading to Austin, Texas, to headline separate events at the annual South by Southwest festival, the event’s organizers announced on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama will keynote a session on technology on March 11, while the first lady will promote her girls’ education initiative at the music portion of the event the following week.

It’s both Obamas’ first times attending the annual event, which takes place in March every year. Known as SXSW, the gathering is a joint technology, film and music festival that brings together leaders in those sectors.

“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.”

Obama has been working to improve the federal government’s use of technology and with American firms to better harness their products to improve the political process and promote civic engagement. He’s also pressured technology firms to take a harder stance against terrorists using their platforms.

The federal government has convened a project with technologists, as well as advertising and entertainment executives, to better combat extremist messages from groups like ISIS. Leaders from Silicon Valley attended a brainstorming session at the Department of Justice last week.

While in Texas, Obama will discuss “civic engagement in the 21st Century before an audience of creators, early adopters and entrepreneurs who are defining the future of our connected lives,” the festival said.

He’s also expected to raise campaign money for Democrats while in the Lone Star State.

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