Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and TV mogul Oprah Winfrey will be among 16 people who President Obama will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The medal is the highest honor the U.S. bestows to citizens and this year’s recipients will be individuals who have contributed to American cultural, security and public interests.
“This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world,” Obama said in a statement.
Clinton will be honored for his global humanitarianism. Through the Clinton Foundation, he has worked to improve public health, economic development and environmental protection. The White House also recognized his work with former President George W. Bush to raise money in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti.
Winfrey will be recognized for her philanthropic efforts, which focus largely on education and creating opportunities for women in the U.S. and in Africa.
Clinton and Winfrey will be among musicians, scientists, activists and an astronaut being honored this year. C.T. Vivian, a civil rights leader and minister and Ernie Banks, a former baseball player for the Chicago Cubs, will be awarded. Bayard Rustin, civil and gay rights activist and adviser to Martin Luther King Jr., will be awarded posthumously.