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Barack and Michelle Obama to Deliver Virtual Commencement Speeches

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are all set to make a generation of young people’s dreams come true amid these trying times. The pair have signed on to headline YouTube’s virtual commencement celebration, “Dear Class of 2020,” during which they’ll each offer encouraging words to graduates whose ceremonies have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the Class of 2020 won’t be able to hold traditional graduation activities, the virtual commencements that have been announced in their stead are blossoming into huge events, garnering attention and participation from leadership and celebrities around the globe.

Photo Credit: @BarackObama/Instagram

YouTube has joined in to help celebrate this year’s graduates by throwing them a mass virtual gathering, and have confirmed that the Obamas each will deliver keynote speeches during the June 6 event. Along with headlining, Michelle Obama’s Higher Reach Initiative also has signed on to host an hour of content ahead of the celebration.

“Graduation is a tradition that students and families look forward to and with the current state of the world, YouTube is lending some inspiration in the form of a virtual commencement,” said Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Content for YouTube in a statement. “We hope bringing together noteworthy, influential speakers along with performances from some of their favorite artists will provide encouragement for the students who have worked so hard to get here.”

According to Deadline, the “festival-style line up” will combine the traditional themes of commencement day with “a diverse array of entertainment that will capture all of the emotions of graduation, including pride, hope, optimism, and camaraderie.”

Other celebs and notable figures set to give commencement speeches during the celebration include: former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, CEO of Alphabet and Google Sundar Pichai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, activist Malala Yousafzai, K-Pop group BTS, and entertainer Lady Gaga.

Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Chloe x Halle, and Zendaya along with others also will make appearances.

Photo Credit: @MichelleObama/Instagram

In addition to speaking at the YouTube ceremony, President Obama is also slated to deliver a commencement speech during the one-hour simulcast graduation event, “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020,” which will air on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TikTok, Facebook, Complex Networks, PEOPLE, YouTube, and more.

“Dear Class of 2020” premieres Saturday, June 6 at 3 p.m. EST on YouTube.

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