Prof. Irena Lipowicz served as Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Poland (Ombudsman) between 2010 and 2015. During that period, she was member of the World Board of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), and in 2015 she was elected as president of the IOI’s European Chapter.
Prof. Lipowicz taught at the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities between 2006 and 2010. She was also a member of the Committee on Legal Sciences at the Polish Academy of Sciences, and from 2008 to 2010 held the office of managing director of the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation. She was also representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Polish–German relations from 2004–2006, and from 2000–2004 was ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Austria. In 1997, she chaired the Local Self-Government Committee of the Sejm, and was deputy chairman of the Freedom Union Parliamentary Club and the parliamentary assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Prof. Lipowiscz also was a member of the Constitutional Committee of the National Assembly that drafted the Polish Constitution of 1997. She has been a member of the “Solidarność” trade union since 1980, and was a founding member of the Upper Silesian Union.
In 2009, Prof. Lipowicz was awarded the degree of Doctor honoris causa by the Osnabrück University. Prior to that, she worked at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Silesia, where she graduated with honours in 1976 and acquired a Doctor of Law and the title of Doctor Habilitatus in 1981 and 1992, respectively.
In addition, she has won several awards including the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Edward J. Wende award, the Grzegorz Palka award for the services rendered to local self-government, the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria, and the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.