Immigration is not an abstract subject for Marco Martiniello, who is currently the director of the Centre for Ethnicity and Migration Studies (CEDEM) and responsible for various courses at ULg, including the sociology of migration. His father came to Belgium in 1947 on the wave of Italian immigration which brought a labour force to Wallonia for the coalmining industry. Fate? In any case, Marco Martiniello, rapidly specialised in immigration issues, even though, as a young student, he intended to go into journalism. After his degree and several research contracts, he set up a project for a thesis on the structuring of immigrant communities. He received a scholarship to study at the European University Institute of Florence before attending a placement at the European Commission, where he worked, in particular, on the statutes of the ephemeral “Migrant Forum”.
He obtained a research contract at UCL before being recruited in Liège as the assistant of Professor Michel De Coster. He then applied to the “Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique” (FNRS), where he went from qualified researcher, to senior fellow (after having passed the teaching certificate in higher education) to director of research.
In 1991, he created LEMI, which became CEDEM in 1995. In 2002, he launched the FNRS contact group Dymipo – “Dynamiques Migratoires et Postmigratoires Internationales” – with Andrea Rea (ULB) and Felice Dassetto (UCL). This inter-university structure aims to be a place for exchange between researchers and wishes to avoid dividing research in a domain that is crucial for the future of Belgian and European societies. The idea of a collective work aimed at painting a vast picture of current knowledge on the various facets of integration and immigration in French-speaking Belgium took root at this time. It took several years before it saw the light of day. The recently published work is a first. It surpasses the assessments of the research carried out so far and stands out as the reference book on a complex domain surrounded by many misconceptions.