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Michelle Yeoh Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Malaysian Actress Michelle Yeoh Receives US’ Highest Civilian Honor

On May 3, President Joe Biden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, to 19 distinguished individuals. Among the recipients was Michelle Yeoh, the celebrated Malaysian actress and recent Academy Award winner.

Yeoh, acclaimed for her wide-ranging roles in cinema that include martial arts, romantic comedies, and science fiction, was honored for her contributions that have significantly enriched and enhanced American culture. During the ceremony, Biden praised her for breaking stereotypes and glass ceilings, noting that her performances transcend gender, cultures, and languages.

Yeoh made history in March 2023 by becoming the first Asian to win the Oscar for Best Actress, for her role in the film Everything Everywhere All At Once (全能侠侣大作战). Biden highlighted her role in bridging cultures through her work, which not only entertains but also aims to inspire and foster understanding.

The event also recognized other trailblazers and pioneers in various fields. Highlights included Katie Ledecky, the seven-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer; Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space; and Jim Thorpe, celebrated as the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal.

Political figures such as Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn were also honored for their significant contributions to American political life. Pelosi was specifically praised for her role as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and her leadership during critical moments in American history.

Former Vice President Al Gore was recognized for his dignified concession in the 2000 presidential election, a gesture Biden pointed out as a profound act of trust in American democratic institutions.

Celebrating Contributions Across Fields

This year’s recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom were chosen for their pioneering roles and contributions that have marked significant “firsts” in their respective fields. The ceremony not only celebrated their individual achievements but also their collective impact on American society and beyond.

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