Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stephen Hawking Awarded the Highest US Civilian Honour

Via BBC -

President Barack Obama has awarded the highest US civilian honour - the Presidential Medal of Freedom - to 16 people praised as "agents of change".

Recipients included South African human rights champion Archbishop Desmond Tutu and British scientist Stephen Hawking.

Tennis player Billie Jean King and former Irish President Mary Robinson were also honoured at the White House.

Posthumous medals were awarded to US gay-rights activist Harvey Milk and Republican Senator Jack Kemp.


The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a decoration bestowed by the President of the United States and is, along with the equivalent Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of Congress, the highest civilian award in the United States. It is designed to recognize individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." The award is not limited to United States citizens and, while a civilian award, can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.

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