Dr Sev Ozdowski is a human rights advocate, educator and social researcher, former senior civil servant, and Australian Human Rights Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner from 2000 to 2005. Ozdowski is known for his support for Polish Solidarity movement in the 1980’s, his defence of human rights of refugees, especially child asylum seekers detained in Australia and people with disabilities and mental illness as well as for his contribution to multicultural policies in Australia. Born in Poland, Ozdowski has a Master of Laws (LLM) and Master of Arts (MA) in Sociology from Poznań University, Poland and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales. In 1984 he was awarded the Harkness Fellowship for post-graduate work at Harvard, Georgetown and Berkeley Universities in USA (1984–86).
As the Australian Human Rights Commissioner Ozdowski authored the report about the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention (2004), A Last Resort?, which talks about the human rights of the children who arrived by boat to seek refuge in Australia. As Disability Discrimination Commissioner, in 2005 Ozdowski conducted the National Inquiry into Mental Health Services Not for Service. that resulted in a major change in the provision of mental health services.
Currently, Dr Ozdowski is the Director of the Equity and Diversity department at Western Sydney University, and Honorary Professor at the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, the University of Sydney. Since 2006 President of the Australian Council for Human Rights Education, and initiator of annual International Human Rights Education Conferences series. In December 2014 Ozdowski has been appointed Chair of the Australian Multicultural Council by the Australian Government. On Australia Day 2016 he was appointed as Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to human rights and multiculturalism.