Avraham Menachem Mendel Ussishkin was born in Dubroŭna in the Belarusian part of the Russian Empire. In 1889, he graduated as a technical engineer from Moscow Technological Institute. Ussishkin was among the founders of the BILU movement and the Moscow branch of the Hovevei Zion. He also joined the Bnei Moshe society founded by Ahad HaAm. In 1891, he made his first trip to Palestine.
In 1919, Ussishkin made aliyah to Palestine. In 1920 he was appointed head of the Zionist Commission in Palestine. In his pamphlet "Our Program" he advocated group settlement based on labour Zionism. Under his influence the Zionist movement actively supported the establishment of agricultural settlements, educational and cultural institutions, and Jewish polytechnic - later the Technion.