Dylan, Peres awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Legendary musician Bob Dylan and Israeli president Shimon Peres have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The singer, who turns 71 next month, was named as one of 13 individuals to be given the highest honour open to American civilians.

Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, has enjoyed a career spanning five decades and won five Grammy awards.

He has gone from being the folk musician who provided the soundtrack to the 1960s counter-culture to the musician begin several gospel-themed albums.

Mr Peres, who is a first cousin of US actress Lauren Bacall, is already a Nobel laureate and has an honorary knighthood.

They were awarded the medal alongside Polish resistance fighter and Nazi documenter Jan Karski, who receives the award posthumously, and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Ms Albright, who learnt as an adult that her parents were Holocaust refugees who had hidden their religion from her, served under President Clinton. She has been honoured for several achievements including that she "pursued peace in the Middle East and Africa, sought to reduce the dangerous spread of nuclear weapons, and was a champion of democracy, human rights, and good governance across the globe."

President Obama said of the recipients: "These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our nation."

Last updated: 10:21am, April 27 2012