Usman Hamid is an MPhil graduate from the Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University in 2016. In 1998, Usman was a student activist from Trisakti University where four students were shot dead—this incident triggered a nationwide protest that toppled the Suharto regime. He subsequently became the coordinator of KontraS, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence. In 2004 Usman was appointed a member of the Presidential Fact-Finding Team that investigated the 2004 murder of prominent human rights defender Munir Said Thalib. He also served as an expert adviser to the International Center for Transitional Justice, Jakarta office, from 2010 until 2012.
In 2011 Usman was appointed to the Presidential Working Unit for the Supervision and Management of Development, where he reviewed the policy on Indonesia’s Human Rights Nation Plan of Action of 2011–2014. In 2012 Usman co-founded the Public Virtue Institute and the Indonesian Branch of Change.org, the world’s largest online petition platform. He has been a visiting scholar at University of Columbia (2003) and held a fellowship at at Nottingham University (2009).