President Barack Obama has awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to 16 people who have made a difference in the nation and the world.
"They remind us that we each have it within our power to fulfill dreams, to advance the dreams of others, and to remake the world for our children," Mr. President said.
President Barack Obama presents the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Pedro Jose Greer Jr., the assistant dean of academic affairs and Florida International University School of Medicine, founder of Camillus Health Concern, an agency that provides medical care to over 10,000 homeless and low-income patients each year in Miami
President Barack Obama presents the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Janet Davison Rowley, M.D., who discovered the first consistent chromosome trans-location in a human cancer
US President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
President Barack Obama presents the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sidney Poitier
U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to renowned physicist Stephen Hawking
Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, well known champion of human rights, world renowned physicist and author Stephen Hawking and Mary Robinson, Ireland's first female President and a former U.N. high commissioner for human rights were also honoured.
Among the four foreign winners was Bangladesh's Muhammed Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, who pioneered a way to lift people out of poverty through a community banking programme that gives small loans to entrepreneurs with no collateral.
The list of recipients includes activists, scientists, actors, humanitarians and athletes. They are all agents of change, Obama said at a White House ceremony on Wednesday.
2. Pedro José Greer, Jr.
3. Stephen Hawking
4. Jack Kemp
5. Sen. Edward Kennedy
6. Billie Jean King
7. Rev. Joseph Lowery
9. Harvey Milk
10. Sandra Day O’Connor
11. Sidney Poitier
12. Chita Rivera
13. Mary Robinson
14. Janet Davison Rowley
15. Desmond Tutu
16. Muhammad Yunus
The Medal of Freedom is awarded every year to individuals that are decided to have made a contribution to the security or national interestes of the United States, whether in peace, cultural or other public or private matters.