Brescia University College marks International Women’s Day with Olympian and activist, Waneek Horn-Miller

Poster of International Women's Day event 2021.

London, ON – In celebration of International Women’s Day, on Monday, March 8th Brescia University College will host the fourth annual Dr. Colleen Hanycz Leadership Lecture: CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE: Finding Common Ground through Dialogue. This complimentary virtual event will consider ways in which women can challenge systems of inequality through an interactive panel discussion, live poetry reading and keynote address by Olympian, Indigenous rights activist and health advocate, Waneek Horn-Miller. 

“International Women’s Day calls us to come together to celebrate women’s achievements, while also calling out and standing up against inequality,” says Brescia’s Interim Principal, Cheryl Jensen. “As Canada’s only women’s university, we are thrilled to mark this important day with some of Canada’s most remarkable women leaders, who exemplify bold leadership and understand what it means to “choose to challenge” through their lived experiences.” 

In recognition of the official 2021 International Women’s Day theme, “Choose to Challenge”, Brescia’s event will begin with a keynote address from Olympian and dedicated human rights champion and challenger, Waneek Horn-Miller. At a young age, Waneek Horn-Miller was stabbed in the chest by a Canadian soldier during a protest on Mohawk lands during the Oka Crisis. This traumatic experience provided Waneek with the internal strength to pursue her passion in athletics, which lead her to become the first Mohawk woman to compete for Team Canada at the Olympics – co-captaining the Women’s Water Polo team in Sydney in 2000. Waneek is now named one of Canada’s most influential women in sport by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity.

In continuing with the event theme, the event will also include an interactive panel discussion – moderated by Brescia’s Chair, School of Leadership and Social Change, Dr. Marlene Janzen Le Ber. The Panel will be comprised of Waneek Horn-Miller and two exceptional Brescia alumnae: Joëlle Kabisoso, an award-winning community engagement coordinator and social entrepreneur and Dr. Christy R. Bressette, Western University’s first Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Initiatives. Panelists will address a series of pre-determined questions and will take part in an interactive audience question and answer period.

To close this empowering evening, Penn Kemp, London, Ontario’s first Poet Laureate, will present a live reading of Brescia’s inaugural International Women’s Day poem: Choose to Challenge. 

The Dr. Colleen Hanycz Leadership Lecture was created and funded by donors in 2015 to honour Brescia’s 11th Principal, Dr. Colleen Hanycz. The annual lecture is designed to bring outstanding leaders to the University to share their knowledge and experience with the community and inspire future women leaders.

Media and members of the London community are invited to CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE: Finding Common Ground through Dialogue virtually on Hopin Monday, March 8th, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is complimentary. For additional information and to register, visit:  


For more information, please contact:

Rhea Johnson, Acting VP Students at or 519-636-9408, or Caitlin Core, Acting Manager, Communications, Marketing & External Relations at

About Brescia University College

Brescia University College, Canada’s women’s university college, is affiliated with Western University. The 1,600 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in the Schools of Behavioural & Social Sciences, Food & Nutritional Sciences, Humanities, and Leadership & Social Change in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. As a Catholic University College, Brescia welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news, a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Online Media Room, at

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