Mother Tongues' People


Dr Francesca La Morgia


Dr Francesca La Morgia is is the founder and director of Mother Tongues. Francesca has an MPhil in Applied Linguistics from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD in bilingual language acquisition from DCU. She lectured in language development from 2010 to 2021 across various universities, holding posts at the University of Reading, Trinity College, Ulster University and Maynooth University. 

Francesca’s work within Mother Tongues focuses on Learning, Research and Policy development across education and the arts. 

elena cristofanon

Elena Cristofanon

Operations Manager

Elena Cristofanon is an Italian creative with a growing passion for projects and people management. She oversees the management of all the projects and the marketing of Mother Tongues. Elena has been behind the scenes of Mother Tongues since the very beginning, in 2017, and is extremely proud of its fast growth. With an academic background in Art History and Standards for Education in Museums, she continued her studies in Ireland in the area of Marketing, Management and Web Design.
She has been recently awarded the Arts Council’s Agility Award to expand the Contatto project on a national scale. 


Soraya Sobrevía

Advocacy, Engagement & Learning Coordinator

Soraya is a linguist, she holds an Honours degree in English Philology by Universidad de Zaragoza, an MA in Translation Studies from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Certificate in Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in University College Dublin. Soraya loves language, and the relationship between language and identity is a passionate subject that has guided much of what she has done in her professional life. She has previously worked in diversity and inclusion through grassroots advocacy, community outreach, and education. Soraya oversees the education programmes and family activities in Mother Tongues. She is the mother of two daughters who are being raised multilingually.

tatiana santos

Tatiana Santos

Research and Development Officer

Tatiana Santos is a Racial Justice Tutor, Cultural Mediator and Socially Engaged Artist. In 2020, she completed her Master in Dispute Resolution — her dissertation, called “New Kid on the Black: an immigrant woman of colour transforming ethnic conflicts in Ireland”, is focused on the potential of Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding to create bridges when it comes to Afrophobia. Since 2018, she has been facilitating talking circles and artistic activities to encourage equity and integration through culture and education, having worked with the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Dublin Council, CDETB and currently working as the Intercultural Network Facilitator for Artists at Mother Tongues.

Board of Directors

Ivan Bonchev

Chair Person

Ivan has 23 years of experience working for both the private and non-for-profit sectors, ranging from EU development programs to multinational companies’ international assignments in developing countries. He has been performing in different industries: manufacturing, FMCG, consulting, private equity and venture capital. Ivan has gained valuable functional expertise, ranging from business development and sales, operations, finance, strategy, management advisory services and finally overall general management. Geographically, his academic and work experience has given him the opportunity to live and work in many countries: Bulgaria, Spain, The Netherlands, The UK, France, Singapore, the USA, Germany, Russia and the CIS countries. Born in Bulgaria and educated abroad, Ivan speaks 5 languages (Bulgarian, English, Spanish, Russian, French and German) and he is very passionate about multiculturalism and multilingualism. Ivan has been involved in philanthropy, charity, NGO and education for number of years.

Maria Golpe Varela


Originally from Galicia, in Northern Spain, Maria is a native Galician speaker and a parent in a multilingual household. She has a degree in Journalism and a post graduate certificate in Digital Marketing and she works in Communications and Marketing in the travel industry.

Jessica Facchin

Jessica Facchin


Jessica works in the institutional client group at Citibank where she covers a selected portfolio of large corporate and global subsidiaries in over 90 countries. Prior to join Citi she worked in SAP which involved project management of significant system changes, technology mandare a c regulatory requirements. Jessica graduated in political science at Padua in 2004 and has a master in Diplomacy & Strategic Negotiations from university of Paris XI and a higher duplica in fintech from NCI (2018). She is fluent in Italian, French & English and conversational in Spanish.

Juley-Ann Collins

Juley-Ann Collins

An Arts and Project Manager, with over 10 years experience in cultural and production management in a multi- disciplinary national and international context; producing, curating and co-ordinating small to large scale projects, funded through the Arts Council of Ireland and Creative Europe. With a Bachelor of Business, Event Management & PR, MA in Public Advocacy & Activism and a Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership, memberships include Theatre Forum and Irish Street Arts Circus and Spectacle Network.

Phaedra Vlahos

Phaedra Vlahos​

Phaedra is Greek but grew up in Ireland. She is an artist and works for the Dublin Simon Community. Her passion is art and philanthropy and she has recently been one of the organisers of Dublin Simon’s annual art event called Scrappy But Happy, and has put together a virtual gallery display which she sees as being the current future of art shows under lockdown. Phaedra wants to offer her support and knowledge for the Mother Tongues cause as it ties in – not only to her personal ethos – but to her professional passions

Caroline Walters

A Limerick native, Caroline holds an honours degree in Applied Languages, a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration and a Masters in Business Management from the University of Limerick. She also holds a Graduate Diploma in Education from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. Caroline’s love of languages started with Gaeilge from an early age and she now counts German, Spanish and French as languages that are close to her heart! Caroline is passionate about embracing and learning from other cultures and she loves to travel. Caroline currently works as a primary school teacher full time having worked in the business world up until 2012. She and her Spanish husband are raising their young children in a busy bilingual household!

David MacHale_Ciorcal

David MacHale​

David is a Marketing and Brand Director with experience working with startups through to multinational companies. He helps organisations differentiate their brand and engage with audiences across traditional and digital channels. He has previously worked in marketing roles with Oracle-Micros software, Tokheim fuel retailing, and Olive learning and media. Today, David is Senior Brand Director for Travelport, a global travel technology business, Winner of 2019 Spiders Award, 2018 Irish Content Marketing Award, and nominated for 2020 All Ireland Marketing (AIM) Awards. He is passionate about culture, design, and data.

Shauna McDaniel

Shauna McDaniel

Shauna is a driven and passionate sales leader with 7+ years of sales experience within the Tech industry. Her expertise lies in managing multi-cultural, multi-talented sales professionals. In her spare time, she is currently completing a Masters in Business (Leadership & Management Practices) at Smurfit Business School in UCD. She hopes that her previous learnings of Cultural Studies and Linguistics, combined with her in-depth knowledge of business development, digital marketing and strategy, will enable her to offer expert guidance in these areas on the Mother Tongues board. As a diversity advocate, she is so excited to be a part of the growth in multilingualism in Ireland.

Salvo Cacciato

Salvo Cacciato

Salvo moved to Ireland from Sicily in 2003. He completed a Masters degree in the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures of Catania and his Masters thesis was on Bilingualism and Early Language Learning. He is a teacher of French and Italian at secondary level in Ireland. He is currently seconded as Modern Foreign Languages Advisor with JCT. He is also the Chairperson of the Association of Teachers of Italian in Ireland (ATI). He has a passion for researching digital learning technologies applied to language learning and a firm believer in multilingualism as a way to learn about cultures and opening to tolerance.

Tarisai May Chidawanyika

Tarisai Chidawanyika

Tarisai was born in Zimbabwe and moved to Ireland when she was 12. She can happily say both Zimbabwe and Ireland raised me. Her mother tongue is Shona. She studied Law and will be qualified as a lawyer on 29 November 2020. She is passionate about all things diversity and inclusion. Her main skills include presentation and written and verbal communication. She loves languages and she is constantly in awe of multilingual people. She moved to France a few years ago to learn French, but unfortunately she lost her French so she is hoping to pick it up. She is excited to be a part of Mother Tongues!

Síne Nic an Ail

Síne Nic an Ailí

Síne is a lover of languages, a former Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA), and a passionate Irish speaker. She has extensive experience in grassroots advocacy, cultural diplomacy, facilitation, community outreach, education, and communications. As director of Cultúr Club, she developed Irish-language and -culture resources to strengthen a sense of Irish identity among children of the diaspora. She has worked with other lesser used language communities around the world in a bid to share experiences in language activism and education. She is currently helping Mother Tongues formulate a long-term strategic vision for multilingualism in Ireland, and aims to help new communities integrate into society by sharing Irish language and culture.


Agnieszka Pedrak

Aga is currently a PhD student of Trinity College Dublin (School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences) where she is doing research on Polish as a heritage language in Ireland. Before coming to Ireland, she studied in Poland and Germany to complete her MA in Linguistics & Communication and her BA in English (interpreting and translation). Since 2016, she has been working as a Polish language teacher in Polish supplementary schools in Ireland, and has recently also delivered online language teaching. Agnieszka has been involved with Mother Tongues since 2017 and among other initiatives, she has been working on the organisation of the annual Heritage Language Education Conference for the last 3 years. Privately, she is a mum raising her daughter with Polish and English and she runs a blog about bilingualism for Polish families worldwide: