US President Joe Biden paid tribute to U2 after the Irish band received a lifetime artistic achievement award from the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC on Sunday night. 

The Kennedy Center Honors, which celebrate an artist's cumulative body of work and influence over decades, took place at the Kennedy Center Opera House on Sunday night and will be televised on CBS on Wednesday, December 28. 

In addition to U2, actor George Clooney, singer Gladys Knight, singer-songwriter Amy Grant, and conductor Tania León were all honored at the 2022 Kennedy Center Honors. 

US President Joe Biden paid tribute to U2 on Sunday night, describing them as "best friends who started a band as teenagers in Dublin and became one of the greatest bands in history". 

"Inheritors of the Irish traditions of poetry and protest; rebellion and rejoicing; faith, hope, and love; and a belief in the dignity of all people, everywhere. Dignity is a very important word to them all," Biden said during Sunday's ceremony. 

Biden also quoted Bono during his speech, stating that "music can change the world because it can change people". 

"For more than 40 years, U2 has changed the world.  Anthems about civil rights, solidarity of workers, the struggle for peace.  Ballads about love and family.  Concerts dedicated to ending poverty and disease." 

He also said U2's music has served as a bridge between Ireland and the USA, two countries that are "linked in memories and imagination" and joined by their history. 

"From this Irish American President in a White House designed by Irish hands, who built this and designed it, I want to thank U2 for all you’ve done and the way you lift people up," Biden said. 

"From “Sunday Bloody Sunday” to “Pride (In the Name of Love)” to “Ordinary Love” to “One,” U2 has spoken and sung about the unspeakable cost of hate and anger and division -- the pain, the suffering, the denial of freedom, the senseless loss of life, and the inhumanity we inflict on one another as nations, as people, and in our own lives." 

In a statement in July, U2 said they were very grateful to be named among the Kennedy Center Honorees in 2022. 

The band said it has enjoyed "a four-decade love affair" with the US and its people and described the country as a "home away from home". 

"We consider America to be a home away from home and we are very grateful to the #KennedyCenterHonors for welcoming us into this great clan."—Irish rock band @U2 (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.)

Meet all of your Honorees at! #KCHonors

— The Kennedy Center (@kencen) July 21, 2022