Sheherazad Jaafari, aide to Syrian President Assad, was accepted to Columbia University after an endorsement from ABC News's Barbara Walters.
Credit: Daily Mail

Sheherazad Jaafari, 22, aide to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, received an endorsement from Barbara Walters, 82, and was accepted into a prestigious graduate program at Columbia University.

According to The New York Times, the confirmation of Jaafari's admission came after Walters, who works for ABC News, apologized for using her contacts in an attempt to set up an internship with CNN and admission to Columbia for the aide, who was a media adviser for Assad.

The New York Post reported that her admission to the fall 2012 class of Columbia's competitive School of International and Public Affairs was confirmed by Associate Dean Jesse Gale.

"I applied for Columbia and hope to get accepted. If there is any way you think you can give my application a push, I would really, really appreciate it. You did mention you knew a professor there," Jaafari wrote Walters on January 24 this year, about six weeks after she helped the TV reporter gain an interview with Assad.

"I will buy you some jewelry from Syria," she continued, according to the Post, calling Walters her "adopted mother." "Let me know if you need anything else from here."

Walters then emailed Richard Wald, a journalism professor at Columbia whose son, Jonathan Ward, is the executive producer of the Piers Morgan Tonight show on CNN, reported the Times. It was at this program where Walters tried to get Jaafari an internship.

More from GlobalPost: Barbara Walters apologizes for trying to help Bashar al-Assad's media aide

In the email, the Times said Walters wrote: "This young woman, whose resume is attached, is the dtr of the Syrian Ambassador to the UN. She helped arrange my interview with Assad. She is only 21 but had his ear and his confidence … she is applying to Columbia School of Journalism. She is brilliant, beautiful, speaks five languages. Anything you can do to help?"

Wald replied: "The degree she is applying for is not in the journalism school but in international affairs. However, through the admissions office network, I will get them to give her special attention. I am sure they will take her."

Jaafari is the daughter of Syria's US ambassador and was one of three women revealed in a leak to have sent love-struck emails to Assad, reported the Daily Mail. Messages leaked by Syrian rebels show she asked another of Assad's advisers to tell him: "I love him so so so much and that I miss him."

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