KING David School (KDS) student Rafael Ungar has been chosen as one of 80 Victorian students to travel to Turkey next year for the centenary of the Australian Gallipoli landings on Anzac Day.
The year 10 student is believed to be the only Jewish student in Victoria among the 80 year 9-12 students chosen for the honour of commemorating the fallen Diggers of Gallipoli, who landed at what is now Anzac Cove on April 25, 1915.
Year 9-12 students from around Australia vied for the fully-funded, escorted trip, which will include attendance at the 2015 Dawn Service at Anzac Cove.
Each student was required to submit an application outlining their understanding of Gallipoli and their community involvements, and give a statement about how they would use their experiences to educate the public.
Ungar, 15, who has been at KDS throughout his school life, has a flair for history, revealed when his essay on Melbourne’s Jewish community won the Australian Jewish Historical Society’s essay competition in the year 10 Australasia category for 2014.
After the announcement of the trip in a briefing with Victorian Premier Denis Napthine at State Parliament on September 17, Ungar said: “I deeply appreciate how privileged I am to be a part of this. I see the tour as this fantastic opportunity – an incredible experience and honour. I only found out about the tour three days before applications closed. I applied on the spur of the moment. I wrote the whole first draft in a night.
“From the trip, I am hoping to gain a better understanding of the Anzac – and for that matter, Turkish – experience. Reading about a place only gets you so far. There’s something profoundly humanising to see a place in real life,” said Ungar.
“The Anzac experience is a human tragedy. That these young Australians felt drawn to join the conflict out of a sense of imperialism and nationalism is a tragedy in any terms. I believe the conflict had no real relation to Australia. But the people in the conflict must be separated from the conflict itself. The Anzac soldiers went through hell, but as they did, formed values that would shape the development of Australia.”
The visit will include a week of historical touring through Istanbul.
King David School student Rafael Ungar with Victorian Premier Denis Napthine.