Dr Ngawang Rabgyal Norpa was born in Shingri, Tibet. He came to exile in 1959 and joined the Central School for Tibetans in Dalhousie where he completed higher secondary education in 1974. He received BA (Hons), MA degree in Political Science from Delhi University and obtained PhD in International Relations from Kiev University, Ukraine. He has been serving the Central Tibetan Administration in various capacities across three continents since 1980. From 1987-1993, he served as Deputy Secretary at Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi. From 1993-97 he served as Representative of His Holiness at the Office of Tibet based in Moscow, Russia. Later in 1998, he was appointed as Additional Secretary at DIIR, Central Tibetan Administration. From 1999-2005 he served as Representative of Office of Tibet, New York (now based in Washington, DC). From 2005-08, he served as Administrative Secretary of DIIR. From 2008-15, he was appointed as Representative of Office of Tibet, Moscow. In 2015 he was appointed as Secretary of Department of Education, CTA.
Dr Ngawang Rabgyal was elected as new Justice Commissioner in a voting held on the sixth day of the second session of 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile on 26 September 2016.