Carter to answer questions from Emory students

For nearly 60 years, he’s gone toe-to-toe with dictators, skeptical voters and pesky political reporters. But on Wednesday night, former president Jimmy Carter will once again face perhaps his most unpredictable batch of questioners:

The Emory freshman.

Carter, 90, will host his 34th annual Town Hall meeting with the newest students at the Atlanta school where he’s long served as University Distinguished Professor. The event isn’t open to the public and the pre-submitted questions are selected at random, which can lend a refreshing, “anything goes” air to the proceedings in the Woodruff P.E. Center.

“I approach this session always with trepidation,” Carter quipped last year as he stood alone at a microphone and stared out at the bleachers packed with people young enough to be his grandchildren.

In fact, he answered everything he was asked about, from ways to deal with ISIS and the recently erupted tensions in Ferguson, Mo., to his opinion of the Iran hostage crisis-themed movie “Argo” (He found it entertaining, if laced with Hollywood liberties) and his favorite ice cream flavor (um, peanut butter, the onetime peanut farmer swore).

It’s not known if questions will come up about Carter’s recently disclosed battle with cancer. But if it does, all the evidence points to him responding with the same candor and cheerfulness he demonstrated at the remarkable press conference in August where he discussed his diagnosis and treatment plans. Carter said then he would cut back significantly on his responsibilities, but has since maintained a brisk pace of teaching Sunday School in his hometown of Plains and speaking at events the Emory Town Hall and one scheduled for Tuesday night at the Carter Center.