Updated: 10:23, Thursday Nov. 18, 2010
U.S. President Barack Obama has awarded German Chancellor Angela Merkel the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the United States.
'These outstanding honorees come from a broad range of backgrounds and they've excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place,' Obama said in a statement on Wednesday.
Obama noted that Merkel 'is the first woman and first East German to serve as chancellor of a unified Germany' and 'has often said that freedom is the happiest experience of her life.'
The ceremony will take place early next year.
Others who will be receiving the award with Merkel include:
former president George HW Bush;
legendary investor Warren Buffett;
poet Maya Angelou;
American artist Jasper Johns;
celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma;
former baseball star Stan Musial;
former basketball star Bill Russell;
former labor federation leader John Sweeney;
Representative John Lewis, a longtime civil rights activist;
John Adams, co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council environmental advocacy group.