President Barack Obama is awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 19 people, including Meryl Streep and Stevie Wonder.

The two performers are among those who will receive the medal at a White House ceremony Nov. 24. The medal is the highest honor granted to civilians in the U.S. and honors contributions to U.S. security, world peace and cultural achievement.

Choreographer Alvin Ailey, who died in 1989, will receive the medal posthumously. Musical theater composer Stephen Sondheim and former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw will also receive the award.

Other recipients include author Isabel Allende, scientist Mildred Dresselhaus, golfer Charles Sifford, economist Robert Solow and actress Marlo Thomas.

Obama says the winners helped write new chapters in America's story. The president announced the recipients while traveling Tuesday in China.