Academic Courses

Undergraduate Courses
  • INT 301/CSL 210: Refugee Narratives (3 credit hours)

    In this course, students will study the experiences of refugees who fled war or genocide, such as the Holocaust and the Burundian Civil War. Students will examine narratives through an autobiographical novel, a play, and art and photographs. The course includes a discussion of the mental and emotional effects of war, genocide, and migration. Special attention will be given to refugees who sought asylum in France. The readings and discussions will prepare students to speak with refugees in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, France. Our guiding questions include: How does the trauma of war or genocide and of leaving one’s home affect the daily lives of refugees in their new country? How have the refugees (at least those in the narratives we study) faced their past while constructing a new home? How does telling their traumatic stories affect their wellbeing and shape their identities? How were they welcomed in the host country and what did the government and individuals do well and poorly to meet their needs?


  • IGS 370/CSL 210: Comparative Genocide: The Case of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in France (3 credit hours)

    Genocide is defined by the United Nations as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." 

    This course offers an intensive case study of the unique and inspiring response to the Nazi genocide against the Jews that was offered by the community of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, which collectively rescued thousands of Jews, with strong leadership provided by the Protestant pastor André Trocmé, and his wife Magda. This globally celebrated rescue effort reflected community values of hospitality and mercy that had been exhibited long before the Holocaust and continue to be expressed in Le Chambon today.

Graduate Courses
  • COUN 611/813‑ Special Topics in Counseling: Psychological Dynamics in Refugee Populations

    This course is a Mercer On Mission study abroad experience in Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, France. This area of France has a long history of helping refugees, including hiding Jewish children in World War II. The citizens still host refugees from the middle east and Africa and are known for “The Miracle of Silence,” which has arisen from the fact that there is no record of a Jewish refugee or current refugee ever been turned in to law enforcement. This Mercer On Mission course will study the psychological factors of the refugee’s experiences and will emphasize the culture of Le Chambon’s faith and community service organizations who make it their mission to serve displaced populations. 


  • COUN 611/813‑ Special Topics in Counseling:  Trauma Narrative Treatment

    This course is a Mercer On Mission study abroad experience in Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, France. This region has long been known for hosting and protecting refugee and displaced populations. Although this community has a long history or refugee aid, it lacks the trauma-based curriculum and trainers to provide actual recovery and skills-building programs. This course is designed to “train trainers” creating a force multiplier of volunteers in this area of France skilled in leading groups to treat trauma symptoms. Participants will use a narrative method of group counseling for treating trauma. Students will learn the model and teach small groups of pastors, teachers, community volunteers, and lay counselors in the narrative group model. Students will explore and experience group leadership, narrative treatment, and monitor self-care and vicarious trauma while participating in the training.


Dr. David Gushee - Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics

Dr. Katherine Roseau - Assistant Professor of French, College of Liberal Arts

Dr. David Lane - Professor of Counseling, Department of Counseling, College of Professional Advancement

Program Highlights

Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, a mountain village in France, has a tradition of welcoming refugees. The inhabitants hid Jewish children during the Holocaust, and they are still today hosting refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine, and anglophone and francophone Africa. While the French government and the local community meets many of the refugee population needs (i.e. food, housing, public school, legal assistance), students on this Mercer on Mission will go to Le Chambon to further help these individuals express their trauma as part of their healing process. Students will engage in meaningful work while learning valuable stories from the refugees and the local community, which has a particularly inspiring tradition of welcoming others.

Undergraduate students will lead after-school activities with children. They will also conduct interviews with adults for a storytelling project that will highlight the town’s past and present of welcoming outsiders.

Graduate students will conduct a workshop designed to train trainers in a narrative model of trauma assessment and intervention.

Tentative travel dates: June 4 - 24, 2023

Contact Information


For more information, e-mail or call (478) 301-2992.