For the second year in a row, South by Southwest has landed a major political speaker and announced it shortly before the conference. Last year, it was then-President Barack Obama as a SXSW Interactive keynote.
This year, Former Vice President Joe Biden will come to the conference for a 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 12 talk at the Austin Convention Center that will be open to all SXSW registrants.
The 47th veep will discuss the Biden cancer initiative, which he has been focusing on since leaving the White House. SXSW said Biden will “reflect on the progress made under his leadership of the White House Cancer Moonshot; call for innovative solutions to tackle the barriers that prevent faster gains in ending cancer as we know it; and describe how he plans to remain in the fight.”
Unlike last year’s Obama keynote, SXSW says it has no plans to livestream the talk as it happens; instead, it plans to release a video on its website after the presentation.
SXSW chief programming officer Hugh Forrest said of the talk: “We’re excited to have vice president Biden address the creative innovators and entrepreneurs that attend SXSW. His commitment and leadership is crucial at a time when the smartest minds from the worlds of technology and healthcare are working together to create groundbreaking new solutions in the battle to end cancer.”
The talk is part of “Connect To End Cancer,” a series of Health Track panels on March 12 that SXSW is holding in partnership with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the AT&T Foundry for Connected Health and Merck & Co. He was in Austin as recently as September for a private event.
This year’s SXSW promises to have a major political bent with a track of panels focused on the Donald Trump administration’s impact on tech and many topics that will likely hit on the current state of government.
Biden, also a former U.S. senator who represented Delaware, has a place during a popular technology conference apart from promoting cancer research: He’s become something of a go-to figure for social-media memes.
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