Event Details

UN Youth NSW Voice Competition

Registrations for 2023 have now closed. 

Voice is a unique public speaking competition running throughout October that invites New South Wales high school students from Years 7-10 to solve real issues that affect our community, our country and our world. Whatever the issue may be, we want to hear you pitch your big ideas. Voice asks students to think outside the box and put their design thinking skills to the test in order to develop innovative and creative, yet feasible, solutions to real-world problems.

How does Voice work in New South Wales?

Speech Format
The competition is split into two parts — the Pitch and Question Time.

The Pitch:

This is the portion of the competition where participants deliver a prepared speech on one of the topics provided on the topic list. This speech will outline the participant’s original solution to the given world problem contained in the topic they have selected. Students may present new solutions to long-standing problems or new solutions to largely untouched issues. In this section the judging panel will be assessing the ability of participants ability to provide tangible and innovative solutions to the problem at hand, rather than just identifying their chosen issue in the abstract and delivering a call to action.

Question Time:

In this portion of the competition, participants will answer two impromptu (unseen) questions asked by the Judging Panel, lasting for approximately one minute each, on the solution they presented in The Pitch.

Speaking Time
Junior Division (Year 7 and 8): 4 minutes
Senior Division (Year 9 and 10): 5 minutes

Question Time
Junior Division (Year 7 and 8): 1 minute preparation, 2 minutes speaking time
Senior Division (Year 9 and 10): 1 minute preparation, 2 minutes speaking time

UN Youth provides a list of set topics that students must select from. Students choose one topic and deliver one prepared speech on that topic. The list of set topics is the same in the Junior Division and the Senior Division. Registrations for each round will remain open until the day before each round takes place. UN Youth NSW highly recommends that students register as soon as they can to ensure that they have the full four (4) weeks to prepare their speech.

Please note that you only need to deliver a speech on one (1) of the topics from the topic list. These Sample Topics from 2016 will provide you with some information on the types of questions Voice asks students to grapple with. 

Question Time Preliminary Round Dates & Times

The preliminary rounds of the Voice competition will be in Term 4 from Monday, October 16 to Friday, November 3rd. They are located at various high schools across the state. The Convenor has aimed to host rounds in as many regions of New South Wales as possible. Students need to attend only one preliminary round.

  • Monday 16th October, James Ruse Agricultural High School, 9am-11:30pm
  • Tuesday, 17th October, Normanhurst Boys High School, 9am-11:30am
  • Friday, 20 October, Pymble Ladies College, 9am-11:30am
  • Saturday, 21 October, University of Technology Sydney, 9:30am-12pm
  • Friday, 27 October Western Sydney University 9:00am-12:30pm
  • Saturday 28th October, University of Technology Sydney, 9:30am-12pm
  • Monday, 30th October, Presbytarian Ladies College Sydney, 12pm-3pm
  • Tuesday, 31st October, North Sydney Girls High School, 9am-11:30am
  • Friday, 3rd November, Merewether High School, Newcastle, 9am-11:30am

Important Information

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the Voice Competition and the Judging Criteria to ensure your speech ticks all the boxes.

Why compete in Voice?

  • Develop skills in public speaking, critical thinking, design thinking and research
  • Hone your ability to think on your feet, assisting you in leadership positions and debating
  • Build an increased knowledge about areas pertinent to you as students and citizens of the world
  • A chance to meet likeminded and engaged young people who share a passion for our world

Need more details?

If you have any questions, please contact our 2023 NSW Voice Convenor, Anirudh Sastry, at nswvoice@unyouth.org.au.

More Information

Accessibility Scholarships

Accessibility scholarships are available to anyone whose ability to participate in our events is impacted by fees associated with the event. If any fees for the NSW Voice Competition pose a barrier to you participating, we highly encourage you to apply for a scholarship, or any of the other payment plans we have available. The following options are designed to be flexible, in order to best support your needs:

Partial Scholarship: Half of the registration fee for the event is waived. The other half of outstanding fees can be paid for in full or through a payment plan. 

Payment Plan: The registration fee and any other outstanding fees can be paid for in instalments, over a period of time. The frequency of payments and the amounts paid will be decided between you and the Equity Officer. 


2023 Topics

  1. How can the international community better protect the rights of animals?
  2. How should Australia balance its need to protect its own national security with its desire to promote international peace? 
  3. How can we improve transportation systems to service and support regional and rural Australia?
  4. How can we ensure that all Australians have access to affordable housing? 
  5. How can access and inclusion be strengthened and supported in the sporting industry?
  6. How can we ensure that Australian students learn about history that reflects the values of contemporary Australian society? 

Please prepare a speech based on only ONE of the above topics. 


For teachers

What makes Voice different?

The educational outcomes for students participating in Voice are extensive and invaluable. The unique structure of this competition facilitates the development of the following:

  • Critical reasoning and problem solving skills
  • Independent formulation of ideas
  • Self-monitored research habits
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Self-confidence and personal presentation skills
  • Knowledge of current international events

The ability to speak in front of an audience with poise and passion is a crucial skill in the 21st Century not only for education, but also to be successful in the workforce. Thus, UN Voice is a fantastic co-curricular activity to further student learning.

All UN Youth events are run by trained facilitators – all you need to do is get your students to sign up! You can even sign up on their behalf using the registration link. 

Hosting a round

The preliminary rounds of the Voice competition will be in Term 4 from Monday, October 16 to Friday, November 3rd. They are located at various high schools across the state. Complete this Expression of Interest form and the convenor will get in contact to confirm the dates that work for your school. 

2023 Voice Competition Registrations

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