Knowing when to speak and when to stay silent are equally important for the Blacktown Boys High School students who will compete at the national Rotary Model United Nations.
Sarthak Garg and Chaopang Ma, in year 11, and Yasin Rahman, in year 10, will depart on Friday for the two-day event, held at Old Parliament House in Canberra.
They placed second in the regional competition as Indonesian delegates and will negotiate policy as South Korea during the national event which will include five debate sessions, a formal dinner and a tour of the Australian National University and Government House.
‘‘We chose South Korea because it has a good amount of influence in the Asian community and it also has really good ties with the western community like Australia and America,’’ Chaopang, 16, said.
‘‘It has a wide variety of topics that we can actually speak on, and topics that we can stay silent on. ‘‘On certain elements we’re pretty neutral, but on things like the Israel and Palestine conflict and the territorial integrity of the Ukraine we were pretty supportive of certain countries over others.’’
The group will debate against 24 other schools on five topics from a list of 10 they were given to prepare for.
Sarthak said the group hoped to discuss Palestine, Syria and the dispute between China and Vietnam over China’s oil drilling activities in the South China Sea waters claimed by both countries.
‘‘Even though the UN doesn’t have any legal power in any of the countries it still provides a platform for them to talk peacefully, even during conflict, and resolve issues as a whole world,’’ he said.
‘‘It allows a greater range of opinions to be heard.’’
Chaopang said he appreciated the open-mindedness of the competition.
‘‘It’s not limited to a certain point of view whereas normal debating is,’’ he said.
The team was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Blacktown City, which has covered its transport and accommodation costs. It is the first time a school from the Blacktown area has made it to the national stage of the competition. Its delegates will wear traditional South Korean dress borrowed from the Korean Society of Sydney.